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The Antiquities of the Jews 
by Josephus 

Jewish Antiquities, in twenty books, was written after Josephus's Jewish Wars 
was received with favor. The treatise covers the history of the Jews until the 
outbreak of the great war. Its sources are unique making its value uneven and, 
at times, unverifiable. Until Nehemiah, the account is based on the scriptures 
with many legendary additions. The period between 175 and 135 B.C.E. 
parallels 1 Maccabees, supplemented from other sources including the lost 
work of Strabo called Histories, Nicolaus of Damascus, and Livy. Herod's reign 
is detailed after the History of Nicolaus and a book entitled The Memorabilia of 
King Herod, now missing. The story of the high priests was likely derived from 
official documents in Jerusalem. Copies of the Roman decrees in favor of the 
Jews included by Josephus are quite valuable. The Antiquities were probably 
published in 93 AD, in the thirteenth year of Domitian, the 56th year of the 
author's life. 

Preface to the work 

1 — From the Creation to the death of Isaac 



2 — From the death of Isaac to the Exodus out of Egypt 

3 — From the Exodus to the rejection of that generation 

4 — From the rejection of that generation to the death of Moses 

5 — From the death of Moses to the death of Eli 

6 — From the death of Eli to the death of Saul 

7 — From the death of Saul to the death of David 

8 — From the death of David to the death of Ahab 

9 — From the death of Ahab to the captivity of the Ten Tribes 

10 — From the captivity of the Ten Tribes to the first of Cyrus 

1 1 — From the first of Cyrus to the death of Alexander the Great 

12 — From the death of Alexander the Great to that of Judas Maccabeus 

13 — From the death of Judas Maccabeus to Queen Alexandra's death 

14 — From the death of Queen Alexandra to the death of Antigonus 



15 — From Antigonus' death to the completion of the Temple by Herod 
16 — From the Temple's completion to Alexander and Aristobulus' death 
17 — From Alexander and Aristobulus' death to Archelaus' banishment 
18 — From Archelaus' banishment to the Jews' departure from Babylon 
19 — From the Jews' Babylonian departure to Fadus the Roman Procurator 
20 — From Fadus the Roman Procurator to Florus 

THE ANTIQUITIES OF THE JEWS 
PREFACE 

1. Those who undertake to write histories, do not, I perceive, take that trouble 
on one and the same account, but for many reasons, and those such as are very 
different one from another. For some of them apply themselves to this part of 
learning to show their skill in composition, and that they may therein acquire a 
reputation for speaking finely: others of them there are, who write histories in 
order to gratify those that happen to be concerned in them, and on that account 
have spared no pains, but rather gone beyond their own abilities in the 
performance: but others there are, who, of necessity and by force, are driven to 
write history, because they are concerned in the facts, and so cannot excuse 
themselves from committing them to writing, for the advantage of posterity; 
nay, there are not a few who are induced to draw their historical facts out of 
darkness into light, and to produce them for the benefit of the public, on 
account of the great importance of the facts themselves with which they have 
been concerned. Now of these several reasons for writing history, I must 
profess the two last were my own reasons also; for since I was myself 
interested in that war which we Jews had with the Romans, and knew myself its 
particular actions, and what conclusion it had, I was forced to give the history 
of it, because I saw that others perverted the truth of those actions in their 
writings. 

2. Now I have undertaken the present work, as thinking it will appear to all 
the Greeks 2 worthy of their study; for it will contain all our antiquities, and the 
constitution of our government, as interpreted out of the Hebrew Scriptures. 
And indeed I did formerly intend, when I wrote of the war, 3 to explain who the 
Jews originally were, — what fortunes they had been subject to, — and by what 
legislature they had been instructed in piety, and the exercise of other virtues, — 
what wars also they had made in remote ages, till they were unwillingly 
engaged in this last with the Romans: but because this work would take up a 
great compass, I separated it into a set treatise by itself, with a beginning of its 



own, and its own conclusion; but in process of time, as usually happens to such 
as undertake great things, I grew weary and went on slowly, it being a large 
subject, and a difficult thing to translate our history into a foreign, and to us 
unaccustomed language. However, some persons there were who desired to 
know our history, and so exhorted me to go on with it; and, above all the rest, 
Epaphroditus, 4 a man who is a lover of all kind of learning, but is principally 
delighted with the knowledge of history, and this on account of his having been 
himself concerned in great affairs, and many turns of fortune, and having 
shown a wonderful rigor of an excellent nature, and an immovable virtuous 
resolution in them all. I yielded to this man's persuasions, who always excites 
such as have abilities in what is useful and acceptable, to join their endeavors 
with his. I was also ashamed myself to permit any laziness of disposition to 
have a greater influence upon me, than the delight of taking pains in such 
studies as were very useful: I thereupon stirred up myself, and went on with my 
work more cheerfully. Besides the foregoing motives, I had others which I 
greatly reflected on; and these were, that our forefathers were willing to 
communicate such things to others; and that some of the Greeks took 
considerable pains to know the affairs of our nation. 

3. I found, therefore, that the second of the Ptolemies was a king who was 
extraordinarily diligent in what concerned learning, and the collection of books; 
that he was also peculiarly ambitious to procure a translation of our law, and of 
the constitution of our government therein contained, into the Greek tongue. 
Now Eleazar the high priest, one not inferior to any other of that dignity among 
us, did not envy the forenamed king the participation of that advantage, which 
otherwise he would for certain have denied him, but that he knew the custom of 
our nation was, to hinder nothing of what we esteemed ourselves from being 
communicated to others. Accordingly, I thought it became me both to imitate 
the generosity of our high priest, and to suppose there might even now be many 
lovers of learning like the king; for he did not obtain all our writings at that 
time; but those who were sent to Alexandria as interpreters, gave him only the 
books of the law, while there were a vast number of other matters in our sacred 
books. They, indeed, contain in them the history of five thousand years; in 
which time happened many strange accidents, many chances of war, and great 
actions of the commanders, and mutations of the form of our government. 
Upon the whole, a man that will peruse this history, may principally learn from 
it, that all events succeed well, even to an incredible degree, and the reward of 
felicity is proposed by God; but then it is to those that follow his will, and do 
not venture to break his excellent laws: and that so far as men any way 
apostatize from the accurate observation of them, what was practical before 
becomes impracticable; 5 and whatsoever they set about as a good thing, is 
converted into an incurable calamity. And now I exhort all those that peruse 



these books, to apply their minds to God; and to examine the mind of our 
legislator, whether he hath not understood his nature in a manner worthy of 
him; and hath not ever ascribed to him such operations as become his power, 
and hath not preserved his writings from those indecent fables which others 
have framed, although, by the great distance of time when he lived, he might 
have securely forged such lies; for he lived two thousand years ago; at which 
vast distance of ages the poets themselves have not been so hardy as to fix even 
the generations of their gods, much less the actions of their men, or their own 
laws. As I proceed, therefore, I shall accurately describe what is contained in 
our records, in the order of time that belongs to them; for I have already 
promised so to do throughout this undertaking; and this without adding any 
thing to what is therein contained, or taking away any thing therefrom. 

4. But because almost all our constitution depends on the wisdom of Moses, 
our legislator, I cannot avoid saying somewhat concerning him beforehand, 
though I shall do it briefly; I mean, because otherwise those that read my book 
may wonder how it comes to pass, that my discourse, which promises an 
account of laws and historical facts, contains so much of philosophy. The 
reader is therefore to know, that Moses deemed it exceeding necessary, that he 
who would conduct his own life well, and give laws to others, in the first place 
should consider the Divine nature; and, upon the contemplation of God's 
operations, should thereby imitate the best of all patterns, so far as it is possible 
for human nature to do, and to endeavor to follow after it: neither could the 
legislator himself have a right mind without such a contemplation; nor would 
any thing he should write tend to the promotion of virtue in his readers; I mean, 
unless they be taught first of all, that God is the Father and Lord of all things, 
and sees all things, and that thence he bestows a happy life upon those that 
follow him; but plunges such as do not walk in the paths of virtue into 
inevitable miseries. Now when Moses was desirous to teach this lesson to his 
countrymen, he did not begin the establishment of his laws after the same 
manner that other legislators did; I mean, upon contracts and other rights 
between one man and another, but by raising their minds upwards to regard 
God, and his creation of the world; and by persuading them, that we men are 
the most excellent of the creatures of God upon earth. Now when once he had 
brought them to submit to religion, he easily persuaded them to submit in all 
other things: for as to other legislators, they followed fables, and by their 
discourses transferred the most reproachful of human vices unto the gods, and 
afforded wicked men the most plausible excuses for their crimes; but as for our 
legislator, when he had once demonstrated that God was possessed of perfect 
virtue, he supposed that men also ought to strive after the participation of it; 
and on those who did not so think, and so believe, he inflicted the severest 
punishments. I exhort, therefore, my readers to examine this whole undertaking 



in that view; for thereby it will appear to them, that there is nothing therein 
disagreeable either to the majesty of God, or to his love to mankind; for all 
things have here a reference to the nature of the universe; while our legislator 
speaks some things wisely, but enigmatically, and others under a decent 
allegory, but still explains such things as required a direct explication plainly 
and expressly. However, those that have a mind to know the reasons of every 
thing, may find here a very curious philosophical theory, which I now indeed 
shall wave the explication of; but if God afford me time for it, I will set about 
writing it after I have finished the present work. I shall now betake myself to 
the history before me, after I have first mentioned what Moses says of the 
creation of the world, which I find described in the sacred books after the 
manner following. 



'That is, all the Gentiles, both Greeks and Romans. 

2 We may seasonably note here, that Josephus wrote his Seven Books of the Jewish War long before he 
wrote these his Antiquities. Those books of the War were published about A.D. 75, and these Antiquities, 
A.D. 93, about eighteen years later. 

3 This Epaphroditus was certainly alive in the third year of Trajan, A.D. 100. See the note on the First 
Book Against Apion, sect. 1 . Who he was we do not know; for as to Epaphroditus, the freedman of Nero, 
and afterwards Domitian's secretary, who was put to death by Domitian in the 14th or 15th year of his 
reign, he could not be alive in the third of Trajan. 

4 Josephus here plainly alludes to the famous Greek proverb, If God be with us, every thing that is 
impossible becomes possible. 

5 "As to this intended work of Josephus concerning the reasons of many of the Jewish laws, and what 
philosophical or allegorical sense they would bear, the loss of which work is by some of the learned not 
much regretted, I am inclinable, in part, to Fabricius's opinion, ap. Havercamp, p. 63, 61, That "we need not 
doubt but that, among some vain and frigid conjectures derived from Jewish imaginations, Josephus would 
have taught us a greater number of excellent and useful things, which perhaps nobody, neither among the 
Jews, nor among the Christians, can now inform us of; so that I would give a great deal to find it still 
extant." 

BOOK1 

CONTAINING THE INTERVAL OF THREE THOUSAND EIGHT 

HUNDRED 
AND THIRTY-THREE YEARS 

FROM THE CREATION TO THE DEATH OF ISAAC 
CHAPTER 1 

THE CONSTITUTION OF THE WORLD, AND THE DISPOSITION OF THE 
ELEMENTS 

1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. But when the earth 
did not come into sight, but was covered with thick darkness, and a wind 



moved upon its surface, God commanded that there should be light: and when 
that was made, he considered the whole mass, and separated the light and the 
darkness; and the name he gave to one was Night, and the other he called Day: 
and he named the beginning of light, and the time of rest, the Evening and the 
Morning, and this was indeed the first day. But Moses said it was one day; — the 
cause of which I am able to give even now; but because I have promised to give 
such reasons for all things in a treatise by itself, I shall put off its exposition till 
that time. After this, on the second day, he placed the heaven over the whole 
world, and separated it from the other parts, and he determined it should stand 
by itself. He also placed a crystalline [firmament] round it, and put it together 
in a manner agreeable to the earth, and fitted it for giving moisture and rain, 
and for affording the advantage of dews. On the third day he appointed the dry 
land to appear, with the sea itself round about it; and on the very same day he 
made the plants and the seeds to spring out of the earth. On the fourth day he 
adorned the heaven with the sun, the moon, and the other stars, and appointed 
them their motions and courses, that the vicissitudes of the seasons might be 
clearly signified. And on the fifth day he produced the living creatures, both 
those that swim, and those that fly; the former in the sea, the latter in the air: he 
also sorted them as to society and mixture, for procreation, and that their kinds 
might increase and multiply. On the sixth day he created the four-footed beasts, 
and made them male and female: on the same day he also formed man. 
Accordingly Moses says, That in just six days the world, and all that is therein, 
was made. And that the seventh day was a rest, and a release from the labor of 
such operations; — whence it is that we celebrate a rest from our labors on that 
day, and call it the Sabbath, which word denotes rest in the Hebrew tongue. 

2. Moreover, Moses, after the seventh day was over 1 begins to talk 
philosophically; and concerning the formation of man, says thus: That God 
took dust from the ground, and formed man, and inserted in him a spirit and a 
soul. 2 This man was called Adam, which in the Hebrew tongue signifies one 
that is red, because he was formed out of red earth, compounded together; for 
of that kind is virgin and true earth. God also presented the living creatures, 
when he had made them, according to their kinds, both male and female, to 
Adam, who gave them those names by which they are still called. But when he 
saw that Adam had no female companion, no society, for there was no such 
created, and that he wondered at the other animals which were male and 
female, he laid him asleep, and took away one of his ribs, and out of it formed 
the woman; whereupon Adam knew her when she was brought to him, and 
acknowledged that she was made out of himself. Now a woman is called in the 
Hebrew tongue Issa; but the name of this woman was Eve, which signifies the 
mother of all living. 

3. Moses says further, that God planted a paradise in the east, flourishing 



with all sorts of trees; and that among them was the tree of life, and another of 
knowledge, whereby was to be known what was good and evil; and that when 
he brought Adam and his wife into this garden, he commanded them to take 
care of the plants. Now the garden was watered by one river, 3 which ran round 
about the whole earth, and was parted into four parts. And Phison, which 
denotes a multitude, running into India, makes its exit into the sea, and is by the 
Greeks called Ganges. Euphrates also, as well as Tigris, goes down into the Red 
Sea. 4 Now the name Euphrates, or Phrath, denotes either a dispersion, or a 
flower: by Tiris, or Diglath, is signified what is swift, with narrowness; and 
Geon runs through Egypt, and denotes what arises from the east, which the 
Greeks call Nile. 

4. God therefore commanded that Adam and his wife should eat of all the 
rest of the plants, but to abstain from the tree of knowledge; and foretold to 
them, that if they touched it, it would prove their destruction. But while all the 
living creatures had one language, 5 at that time the serpent, which then lived 
together with Adam and his wife, showed an envious disposition, at his 
supposal of their living happily, and in obedience to the commands of God; and 
imagining, that when they disobeyed them, they would fall into calamities, he 
persuaded the woman, out of a malicious intention, to taste of the tree of 
knowledge, telling them, that in that tree was the knowledge of good and evil; 
which knowledge, when they should obtain, they would lead a happy life; nay, 
a life not inferior to that of a god: by which means he overcame the woman, 
and persuaded her to despise the command of God. Now when she had tasted 
of that tree, and was pleased with its fruit, she persuaded Adam to make use of 
it also. Upon this they perceived that they were become naked to one another; 
and being ashamed thus to appear abroad, they invented somewhat to cover 
them; for the tree sharpened their understanding; and they covered themselves 
with fig-leaves; and tying these before them, out of modesty, they thought they 
were happier than they were before, as they had discovered what they were in 
want of. But when God came into the garden, Adam, who was wont before to 
come and converse with him, being conscious of his wicked behavior, went out 
of the way. This behavior surprised God; and he asked what was the cause of 
this his procedure; and why he, that before delighted in that conversation, did 
now fly from it, and avoid it. When he made no reply, as conscious to himself 
that he had transgressed the command of God, God said, "I had before 
determined about you both, how you might lead a happy life, without any 
affliction, and care, and vexation of soul; and that all things which might 
contribute to your enjoyment and pleasure should grow up by my providence, 
of their own accord, without your own labor and pains-taking; which state of 
labor and pains-taking would soon bring on old age, and death would not be at 
any remote distance: but now thou hast abused this my good-will, and hast 



disobeyed my commands; for thy silence is not the sign of thy virtue, but of thy 
evil conscience." However, Adam excused his sin, and entreated God not to be 
angry at him, and laid the blame of what was done upon his wife; and said that 
he was deceived by her, and thence became an offender; while she again 
accused the serpent. But God allotted him punishment, because he weakly 
submitted to the counsel of his wife; and said the ground should not henceforth 
yield its fruits of its own accord, but that when it should be harassed by their 
labor, it should bring forth some of its fruits, and refuse to bring forth others. 
He also made Eve liable to the inconveniency of breeding, and the sharp pains 
of bringing forth children; and this because she persuaded Adam with the same 
arguments wherewith the serpent had persuaded her, and had thereby brought 
him into a calamitous condition. He also deprived the serpent of speech, out of 
indignation at his malicious disposition towards Adam. Besides this, he inserted 
poison under his tongue, and made him an enemy to men; and suggested to 
them, that they should direct their strokes against his head, that being the place 
wherein lay his mischievous designs towards men, and it being easiest to take 
vengeance on him, that way. And when he had deprived him of the use of his 
feet, he made him to go rolling all along, and dragging himself upon the 
ground. And when God had appointed these penalties for them, he removed 
Adam and Eve out of the garden into another place. 

CHAPTER 2 

CONCERNING THE POSTERITY OF ADAM, AND THE TEN 
GENERATIONS FROM HIM TO THE DELUGE 

1. Adam and Eve had two sons: the elder of them was named Cain; which 
name, when it is interpreted, signifies a possession: the younger was Abel, 
which signifies sorrow. They had also daughters. Now the two brethren were 
pleased with different courses of life: for Abel, the younger, was a lover of 
righteousness; and believing that God was present at all his actions, he excelled 
in virtue; and his employment was that of a shepherd. But Cain was not only 
very wicked in other respects, but was wholly intent upon getting, and he first 
contrived to plough the ground. He slew his brother on the occasion following: 
— They had resolved to sacrifice to God. Now Cain brought the fruits of the 
earth, and of his husbandry; but Abel brought milk, and the first-fruits of his 
flocks: but God was more delighted with the latter oblation, 6 when he was 
honored with what grew naturally of its own accord, than he was with what was 
the invention of a covetous man, and gotten by forcing the ground; whence it 
was that Cain was very angry that Abel was preferred by God before him; and 
he slew his brother, and hid his dead body, thinking to escape discovery. But 
God, knowing what had been done, came to Cain, and asked him what was 



become of his brother, because he had not seen him of many days; whereas he 
used to observe them conversing together at other times. But Cain was in doubt 
with himself, and knew not what answer to give to God. At first he said that he 
was himself at a loss about his brother's disappearing; but when he was 
provoked by God, who pressed him vehemently, as resolving to know what the 
matter was, he replied, he was not his brother's guardian or keeper, nor was he 
an observer of what he did. But, in return, God convicted Cain, as having been 
the murderer of his brother; and said, "I wonder at thee, that thou knowest not 
what is become of a man whom thou thyself hast destroyed." God therefore did 
not inflict the punishment [of death] upon him, on account of his offering 
sacrifice, and thereby making supplication to him not to be extreme in his wrath 
to him; but he made him accursed, and threatened his posterity in the seventh 
generation. He also cast him, together with his wife, out of that land. And when 
he was afraid that in wandering about he should fall among wild beasts, and by 
that means perish, God bid him not to entertain such a melancholy suspicion, 
and to go over all the earth without fear of what mischief he might suffer from 
wild beasts; and setting a mark upon him, that he might be known, he 
commanded him to depart. 

2. And when Cain had traveled over many countries, he, with his wife, built 
a city, named Nod, which is a place so called, and there he settled his abode; 
where also he had children. However, he did not accept of his punishment in 
order to amendment, but to increase his wickedness; for he only aimed to 
procure every thing that was for his own bodily pleasure, though it obliged him 
to be injurious to his neighbors. He augmented his household substance with 
much wealth, by rapine and violence; he excited his acquaintance to procure 
pleasures and spoils by robbery, and became a great leader of men into wicked 
courses. He also introduced a change in that way of simplicity wherein men 
lived before; and was the author of measures and weights. And whereas they 
lived innocently and generously while they knew nothing of such arts, he 
changed the world into cunning craftiness. He first of all set boundaries about 
lands: he built a city, and fortified it with walls, and he compelled his family to 
come together to it; and called that city Enoch, after the name of his eldest son 
Enoch. Now Jared was the son of Enoch; whose son was Malaleel; whose son 
was Mathusela; whose son was Lamech; who had seventy-seven children by 
two wives, Silla and Ada. Of those children by Ada, one was Jabal: he erected 
tents, and loved the life of a shepherd. But Jubal, who was born of the same 
mother with him, exercised himself in music; 7 and invented the psaltery and the 
harp. But Tubal, one of his children by the other wife, exceeded all men in 
strength, and was very expert and famous in martial performances. He procured 
what tended to the pleasures of the body by that method; and first of all 
invented the art of making brass. Lamech was also the father of a daughter, 



whose name was Naamah. And because he was so skilful in matters of divine 
revelation, that he knew he was to be punished for Cain's murder of his brother, 
he made that known to his wives. Nay, even while Adam was alive, it came to 
pass that the posterity of Cain became exceeding wicked, every one 
successively dying, one after another, more wicked than the former. They were 
intolerable in war, and vehement in robberies; and if any one were slow to 
murder people, yet was he bold in his profligate behavior, in acting unjustly, 
and doing injuries for gain. 

3. Now Adam, who was the first man, and made out of the earth, (for our 
discourse must now be about him), after Abel was slain, and Cain fled away, on 
account of his murder, was solicitous for posterity, and had a vehement desire 
of children, he being two hundred and thirty years old; after which time he 
lived other seven hundred, and then died. He had indeed many other children, 8 
but Seth in particular. As for the rest, it would be tedious to name them; I will 
therefore only endeavor to give an account of those that proceeded from Seth. 
Now this Seth, when he was brought up, and came to those years in which he 
could discern what was good, became a virtuous man; and as he was himself of 
an excellent character, so did he leave children behind him who imitated his 
virtues. 9 All these proved to be of good dispositions. They also inhabited the 
same country without dissensions, and in a happy condition, without any 
misfortunes falling upon them, till they died. They also were the inventors of 
that peculiar sort of wisdom which is concerned with the heavenly bodies, and 
their order. And that their inventions might not be lost before they were 
sufficiently known, upon Adam's prediction that the world was to be destroyed 
at one time by the force of fire, and at another time by the violence and quantity 
of water, they made two pillars, 10 the one of brick, the other of stone: they 
inscribed their discoveries on them both, that in case the pillar of brick should 
be destroyed by the flood, the pillar of stone might remain, and exhibit those 
discoveries to mankind; and also inform them that there was another pillar of 
brick erected by them. Now this remains in the land of Siriad to this day. 

CHAPTER 3 

CONCERNING THE FLOOD; AND AFTER WHAT MANNER NOAH WAS 
SAVED IN AN ARK, WITH HIS KINDRED, AND AFTERWARDS DWELT 
IN THE PLAIN OF SHINAR 

1. Now this posterity of Seth continued to esteem God as the Lord of the 
universe, and to have an entire regard to virtue, for seven generations; but in 
process of time they were perverted, and forsook the practices of their 
forefathers; and did neither pay those honors to God which were appointed 
them, nor had they any concern to do justice towards men. But for what degree 



of zeal they had formerly shown for virtue, they now showed by their actions a 
double degree of wickedness, whereby they made God to be their enemy. For 
many angels 11 of God accompanied with women, and begat sons that proved 
unjust, and despisers of all that was good, on account of the confidence they 
had in their own strength; for the tradition is, that these men did what 
resembled the acts of those whom the Grecians call giants. But Noah was very 
uneasy at what they did; and being displeased at their conduct, persuaded them 
to change their dispositions and their acts for the better: — but seeing they did 
not yield to him, but were slaves to their wicked pleasures, he was afraid they 
would kill him, together with his wife and children, and those they had married; 
so he departed out of that land. 

2. Now God loved this man for his righteousness: yet he not only 
condemned those other men for their wickedness, but determined to destroy the 
whole race of mankind, and to make another race that should be pure from 
wickedness; and cutting short their lives, and making their years not so many as 
they formerly lived, but one hundred and twenty only, 12 he turned the dry land 
into sea; and thus were all these men destroyed: but Noah alone was saved; for 
God suggested to him the following contrivance and way of escape: — That he 
should make an ark of four stories high, three hundred 13 cubits long, fifty cubits 
broad, and thirty cubits high. Accordingly he entered into that ark, and his wife, 
and sons, and their wives, and put into it not only other provisions, to support 
their wants there, but also sent in with the rest all sorts of living creatures, the 
male and his female, for the preservation of their kinds; and others of them by 
sevens. Now this ark had firm walls, and a roof, and was braced with cross 
beams, so that it could not be any way drowned or overborne by the violence of 
the water. And thus was Noah, with his family, preserved. Now he was the tenth 
from Adam, as being the son of Lamech, whose father was Mathusela; he was 
the son of Enoch, the son of Jared; and Jared was the son of Malaleel, who, 
with many of his sisters, were the children of Cainan, the son of Enos. Now 
Enos was the son of Seth, the son of Adam. 

3. This calamity happened in the six hundredth year of Noah's government, 
[age,] in the second month, 14 called by the Macedonians Dius, but by the 
Hebrews Marchesuan: for so did they order their year in Egypt. But Moses 
appointed that Nisan, which is the same with Xanthicus, should be the first 
month for their festivals, because he brought them out of Egypt in that month: 
so that this month began the year as to all the solemnities they observed to the 
honor of God, although he preserved the original order of the months as to 
selling and buying, and other ordinary affairs. Now he says that this flood 
began on the twenty- seventh [seventeenth] day of the forementioned month; 
and this was two thousand six hundred and fifty-six [one thousand six hundred 
and fifty-six] years from Adam, the first man; and the time is written down in 



our sacred books, those who then lived having noted down, 15 with great 
accuracy, both the births and deaths of illustrious men. 

4. For indeed Seth was born when Adam was in his two hundred and 
thirtieth year, who lived nine hundred and thirty years. Seth begat Enos in his 
two hundred and fifth year; who, when he had lived nine hundred and twelve 
years, delivered the government to Cainan his son, whom he had in his hundred 
and ninetieth year. He lived nine hundred and five years. Cainan, when he had 
lived nine hundred and ten years, had his son Malaleel, who was born in his 
hundred and seventieth year. This Malaleel, having lived eight hundred and 
ninety-five years, died, leaving his son Jared, whom he begat when he was in 
his hundred and sixty-fifth year. He lived nine hundred and sixty-two years; 
and then his son Enoch succeeded him, who was born when his father was one 
hundred and sixty-two years old. Now he, when he had lived three hundred and 
sixty-five years, departed and went to God; whence it is that they have not 
written down his death. Now Mathusela, the son of Enoch, who was born to 
him when he was one hundred and sixty-five years old, had Lamech for his son 
when he was one hundred and eighty-seven years of age; to whom he delivered 
the government, when he had retained it nine hundred and sixty-nine years. 
Now Lamech, when he had governed seven hundred and seventy- seven years, 
appointed Noah, his son, to be ruler of the people, who was born to Lamech 
when he was one hundred and eighty-two years old, and retained the 
government nine hundred and fifty years. These years collected together make 
up the sum before set down. But let no one inquire into the deaths of these men; 
for they extended their lives along together with their children and 
grandchildren; but let him have regard to their births only. 

5. When God gave the signal, and it began to rain, the water poured down 
forty entire days, till it became fifteen cubits higher than the earth; which was 
the reason why there was no greater number preserved, since they had no place 
to fly to. When the rain ceased, the water did but just begin to abate after one 
hundred and fifty days, (that is, on the seventeenth day of the seventh month,) it 
then ceasing to subside for a little while. After this, the ark rested on the top of 
a certain mountain in Armenia; which, when Noah understood, he opened it; 
and seeing a small piece of land about it, he continued quiet, and conceived 
some cheerful hopes of deliverance. But a few days afterward, when the water 
was decreased to a greater degree, he sent out a raven, as desirous to learn 
whether any other part of the earth were left dry by the water, and whether he 
might go out of the ark with safety; but the raven, finding all the land still 
overflowed, returned to Noah again. And after seven days he sent out a dove, to 
know the state of the ground; which came back to him covered with mud, and 
bringing an olive branch: hereby Noah learned that the earth was become clear 
of the flood. So after he had staid seven more days, he sent the living creatures 



out of the ark; and both he and his family went out, when he also sacrificed to 
God, and feasted with his companions. However, the Armenians call this place, 
(Apobaterion) 16 The Place of Descent; for the ark being saved in that place, its 
remains are shown there by the inhabitants to this day. 

6. Now all the writers of barbarian histories make mention of this flood, and 
of this ark; among whom is Berosus the Chaldean. For when he is describing 
the circumstances of the flood, he goes on thus: "It is said there is still some 
part of this ship in Armenia, at the mountain of the Cordyaeans; and that some 
people carry off pieces of the bitumen, which they take away, and use chiefly as 
amulets for the averting of mischiefs." Hieronymus the Egyptian also, who 
wrote the Phoenician Antiquities, and Mnaseas, and a great many more, make 
mention of the same. Nay, Nicolaus of Damascus, in his ninety-sixth book, hath 
a particular relation about them; where he speaks thus: — "There is a great 
mountain in Armenia, over Minyas, called Baris, upon which it is reported that 
many who fled at the time of the Deluge were saved; and that one who was 
carried in an ark came on shore upon the top of it; and that the remains of the 
timber were a great while preserved. This might be the man about whom Moses 
the legislator of the Jews wrote." 

7. But as for Noah, he was afraid, since God had determined to destroy 
mankind, lest he should drown the earth every year; so he offered burnt- 
offerings, and besought God that nature might hereafter go on in its former 
orderly course, and that he would not bring on so great a judgment any more, 
by which the whole race of creatures might be in danger of destruction: but 
that, having now punished the wicked, he would of his goodness spare the 
remainder, and such as he had hitherto judged fit to be delivered from so severe 
a calamity; for that otherwise these last must be more miserable than the first, 
and that they must be condemned to a worse condition than the others, unless 
they be suffered to escape entirely; that is, if they be reserved for another 
deluge; while they must be afflicted with the terror and sight of the first deluge, 
and must also be destroyed by a second. He also entreated God to accept of his 
sacrifice, and to grant that the earth might never again undergo the like effects 
of his wrath; that men might be permitted to go on cheerfully in cultivating the 
same; — to build cities, and live happily in them; and that they might not be 
deprived of any of those good things which they enjoyed before the Flood; but 
might attain to the like length of days, and old age, which the ancient people 
had arrived at before. 

8. When Noah had made these supplications, God, who loved the man for 
his righteousness, granted entire success to his prayers, and said, that it was not 
he who brought the destruction on a polluted world, but that they underwent 
that vengeance on account of their own wickedness; and that he had not 
brought men into the world if he had himself determined to destroy them, it 



being an instance of greater wisdom not to have granted them life at all, than, 
after it was granted, to procure their destruction; "But the injuries," said he, 
"they offered to my holiness and virtue, forced me to bring this punishment 
upon them. But I will leave off for the time to come to require such 
punishments, the effects of so great wrath, for their future wicked actions, and 
especially on account of thy prayers. But if I shall at any time send tempests of 
rain, in an extraordinary manner, be not affrighted at the largeness of the 
showers; for the water shall no more overspread the earth. However, I require 
you to abstain from shedding the blood of men, and to keep yourselves pure 
from murder; and to punish those that commit any such thing. I permit you to 
make use of all the other living creatures at your pleasure, and as your appetites 
lead you; for I have made you lords of them all, both of those that walk on the 
land, and those that swim in the waters, and of those that fly in the regions of 
the air on high, — excepting their blood, for therein is the life. But I will give 
you a sign that I have left off my anger by my bow [whereby is meant the 
rainbow, for they determined that the rainbow was the bow of God]; and when 
God had said and promised thus, he went away. 

9. Now when Noah had lived three hundred and fifty years after the Flood, 
and that all that time happily, he died, having lived the number of nine hundred 
and fifty years. But let no one, upon comparing the lives of the ancients with 
our lives, and with the few years which we now live, think that what we have 
said of them is false; or make the shortness of our lives at present an argument, 
that neither did they attain to so long a duration of life, for those ancients were 
beloved of God, and [lately] made by God himself; and because their food was 
then fitter for the prolongation of life, might well live so great a number of 
years: and besides, God afforded them a longer time of life on account of their 
virtue, and the good use they made of it in astronomical and geometrical 
discoveries, which would not have afforded the time of foretelling [the periods 
of the stars] unless they had lived six hundred years; for the great year is 
completed in that interval. Now I have for witnesses to what I have said, all 
those that have written Antiquities, both among the Greeks and barbarians; for 
even Manetho, who wrote the Egyptian History, and Berosus, who collected the 
Chaldean Monuments, and Mochus, and Hestiaeus, and, besides these, 
Hieronymus the Egyptian, and those who composed the Phoenician History, 
agree to what I here say: Hesiod also, and Hecatseus, Hellanicus, and 
Acusilaus; and, besides these, Ephorus and Nicolaus relate that the ancients 
lived a thousand years. But as to these matters, let every one look upon them as 
he thinks fit. 

CHAPTER 4 



CONCERNING THE TOWER OF BABYLON, AND THE CONFUSION OF 
TONGUES 

1. Now the sons of Noah were three, — Shem, Japhet, and Ham, born one 
hundred years before the Deluge. These first of all descended from the 
mountains into the plains, and fixed their habitation there; and persuaded others 
who were greatly afraid of the lower grounds on account of the flood, and so 
were very loath to come down from the higher places, to venture to follow their 
examples. Now the plain in which they first dwelt was called Shinar. God also 
commanded them to send colonies abroad, for the thorough peopling of the 
earth, — that they might not raise seditions among themselves, but might 
cultivate a great part of the earth, and enjoy its fruits after a plentiful manner. 
But they were so ill instructed that they did not obey God; for which reason 
they fell into calamities, and were made sensible, by experience, of what sin 
they had been guilty: for when they flourished with a numerous youth, God 
admonished them again to send out colonies; but they, imagining the prosperity 
they enjoyed was not derived from the favor of God, but supposing that their 
own power was the proper cause of the plentiful condition they were in, did not 
obey him. Nay, they added to this their disobedience to the Divine will, the 
suspicion that they were therefore ordered to send out separate colonies, that, 
being divided asunder, they might the more easily be oppressed. 

2. Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of 
God. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah, — a bold man, and of great 
strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if it was 
through his means they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage 
which procured that happiness. He also gradually changed the government into 
tyranny, — seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to 
bring them into a constant dependence on his power. He also said he would be 
revenged on God, if he should have a mind to drown the world again; for that 
he would build a tower too high for the waters to be able to reach! and that he 
would avenge himself on God for destroying their forefathers ! 

3. Now the multitude were very ready to follow the determination of 
Nimrod, and to esteem it a piece of cowardice to submit to God; and they built 
a tower, neither sparing any pains, nor being in any degree negligent about the 
work: and, by reason of the multitude of hands employed in it, it grew very 
high, sooner than any one could expect; but the thickness of it was so great, and 
it was so strongly built, that thereby its great height seemed, upon the view, to 
be less than it really was. It was built of burnt brick, cemented together with 
mortar, made of bitumen, that it might not be liable to admit water. When God 
saw that they acted so madly, he did not resolve to destroy them utterly, since 
they were not grown wiser by the destruction of the former sinners; but he 
caused a tumult among them, by producing in them divers languages, and 



causing that, through the multitude of those languages, they should not be able 
to understand one another. The place wherein they built the tower is now called 
Babylon, because of the confusion of that language which they readily 
understood before; for the Hebrews mean by the word Babel, confusion. The 
Sibyl also makes mention of this tower, and of the confusion of the language, 
when she says thus: — "When all men were of one language, some of them built 
a high tower, as if they would thereby ascend up to heaven, but the gods sent 
storms of wind and overthrew the tower, and gave every one his peculiar 
language; and for this reason it was that the city was called Babylon." But as to 
the plan of Shinar, in the country of Babylonia, Hestiaeus mentions it, when he 
says thus: — "Such of the priests as were saved, took the sacred vessels of 
Jupiter Enyalius, and came to Shinar of Babylonia." 

CHAPTER 5 

AFTER WHAT MANNER THE POSTERITY OF NOAH SENT OUT 
COLONIES, AND INHABITED THE WHOLE EARTH 

After this they were dispersed abroad, on account of their languages, and went 
out by colonies every where; and each colony took possession of that land 
which they light upon, and unto which God led them; so that the whole 
continent was filled with them, both the inland and the maritime countries. 
There were some also who passed over the sea in ships, and inhabited the 
islands: and some of those nations do still retain the denominations which were 
given them by their first founders; but some have lost them also, and some have 
only admitted certain changes in them, that they might be the more intelligible 
to the inhabitants. And they were the Greeks who became the authors of such 
mutations. For when in after- ages they grew potent, they claimed to themselves 
the glory of antiquity; — giving names to the nations that sounded well (in 
Greek) that they might be better understood among themselves; and setting 
agreeable forms of government over them, as if they were a people derived 
from themselves. 

CHAPTER 6 

HOW EVERY NATION WAS DENOMINATED FROM THEIR FIRST 
INHABITANTS 

1. Now they were the grandchildren of Noah, in honor of whom names were 
imposed on the nations by those that first seized upon them. Japhet, the son of 
Noah, had seven sons: they inhabited so, that, beginning at the mountains 
Taurus and Amanus, they proceeded along Asia, as far as the river Tanais, and 
along Europe to Cadiz; and settling themselves on the lands which they light 



upon, which none had inhabited before, they called the nations by their own 
names. For Gomer founded those whom the Greeks now call Galatians, [Galls,] 
but were then called Gomerites. Magog founded those that from him were 
named Magogites, but who are by the Greeks called Scythians. Now as to 
Javan and Madai, the sons of Japhet; from Madai came the Madeans, who are 
called Medes, by the Greeks; but from Javan, Ionia, and all the Grecians, are 
derived. Thobel founded the Thobelites, who are now called Iberes; and the 
Mosocheni were founded by Mosoch; now they are Cappadocians. There is 
also a mark of their ancient denomination still to be shown; for there is even 
now among them a city called Mazaca, which may inform those that are able to 
understand, that so was the entire nation once called. Thiras also called those 
whom he ruled over Thirasians; but the Greeks changed the name into 
Thracians. And so many were the countries that had the children of Japhet for 
their inhabitants. Of the three sons of Gomer, Aschanax founded the 
Aschanaxians, who are now called by the Greeks Rheginians. So did Riphath 
found the Ripheans, now called Paphlagonians; and Thrugramma the 
Thrugrammeans, who, as the Greeks resolved, were named Phrygians. Of the 
three sons of Javan also, the son of Japhet, Elisa gave name to the Eliseans, 
who were his subjects; they are now the Aeolians. Tharsus to the Tharsians, for 
so was Cilicia of old called; the sign of which is this, that the noblest city they 
have, and a metropolis also, is Tarsus, the tau being by change put for the theta. 
Cethimus possessed the island Cethima: it is now called Cyprus; and from that 
it is that all islands, and the greatest part of the sea-coasts, are named Cethim 
by the Hebrews: and one city there is in Cyprus that has been able to preserve 
its denomination; it has been called Citius by those who use the language of the 
Greeks, and has not, by the use of that dialect, escaped the name of Cethim. 
And so many nations have the children and grandchildren of Japhet possessed. 
Now when I have premised somewhat, which perhaps the Greeks do not know, 
I will return and explain what I have omitted; for such names are pronounced 
here after the manner of the Greeks, to please my readers; for our own country 
language does not so pronounce them: but the names in all cases are of one and 
the same ending; for the name we here pronounce Noeas, is there Noah, and in 
every case retains the same termination. 

2. The children of Ham possessed the land from Syria and Amanus, and the 
mountains of Libanus; seizing upon all that was on its sea-coasts, and as far as 
the ocean, and keeping it as their own. Some indeed of its names are utterly 
vanished away; others of them being changed, and another sound given them, 
are hardly to be discovered; yet a few there are which have kept their 
denominations entire. For of the four sons of Ham, time has not at all hurt the 
name of Chus; for the Ethiopians, over whom he reigned, are even at this day, 
both by themselves and by all men in Asia, called Chusites. The memory also 



of the Mesraites is preserved in their name; for all we who inhabit this country 
[of Judea] called Egypt Mestre, and the Egyptians Mestreans. Phut also was the 
founder of Libya, and called the inhabitants Phutites, from himself: there is also 
a river in the country of Moors which bears that name; whence it is that we may 
see the greatest part of the Grecian historiographers mention that river and the 
adjoining country by the appellation of Phut: but the name it has now has been 
by change given it from one of the sons of Mesraim, who was called Lybyos. 
We will inform you presently what has been the occasion why it has been 
called Africa also. Canaan, the fourth son of Ham, inhabited the country now 
called Judea, and called it from his own name Canaan. The children of these 
[four] were these: Sabas, who founded the Sabeans; Evilas, who founded the 
Evileans, who are called Getuli; Sabathes founded the Sabathens, they are now 
called by the Greeks Astaborans; Sabactas settled the Sabactens; and Ragmus 
the Ragmeans; and he had two sons, the one of whom, Judadas, settled the 
Judadeans, a nation of the western Ethiopians, and left them his name; as did 
Sabas to the Sabeans: but Nimrod, the son of Chus, staid and tyrannized at 
Babylon, as we have already informed you. Now all the children of Mesraim, 
being eight in number, possessed the country from Gaza to Egypt, though it 
retained the name of one only, the Philistim; for the Greeks call part of that 
country Palestine. As for the rest, Ludieim, and Enemim, and Labim, who alone 
inhabited in Libya, and called the country from himself, Nedim, and 
Phethrosim, and Chesloim, and Cephthorim, we know nothing of them besides 
their names; for the Ethiopic war, 17 which we shall describe hereafter, was the 
cause that those cities were overthrown. The sons of Canaan were these: 
Sidonius, who also built a city of the same name; it is called by the Greeks 
Sidon Amathus inhabited in Amathine, which is even now called Amathe by the 
inhabitants, although the Macedonians named it Epiphania, from one of his 
posterity: Arudeus possessed the island Aradus: Arucas possessed Arce, which 
is in Libanus. But for the seven others, [Eueus,] Chetteus, Jebuseus, Amorreus, 
Gergesus, Eudeus, Sineus, Samareus, we have nothing in the sacred books but 
their names, for the Hebrews overthrew their cities; and their calamities came 
upon them on the occasion following. 

3. Noah, when, after the deluge, the earth was resettled in its former 
condition, set about its cultivation; and when he had planted it with vines, and 
when the fruit was ripe, and he had gathered the grapes in their season, and the 
wine was ready for use, he offered sacrifice, and feasted, and, being drunk, he 
fell asleep, and lay naked in an unseemly manner. When his youngest son saw 
this, he came laughing, and showed him to his brethren; but they covered their 
father's nakedness. And when Noah was made sensible of what had been done, 
he prayed for prosperity to his other sons; but for Ham, he did not curse him, by 
reason of his nearness in blood, but cursed his prosperity: and when the rest of 



them escaped that curse, God inflicted it on the children of Canaan. But as to 
these matters, we shall speak more hereafter. 

4. Shem, the third son of Noah, had five sons, who inhabited the land that 
began at Euphrates, and reached to the Indian Ocean. For Elam left behind him 
the Elamites, the ancestors of the Persians. Ashur lived at the city Nineve; and 
named his subjects Assyrians, who became the most fortunate nation, beyond 
others. Arphaxad named the Arphaxadites, who are now called Chaldeans. 
Aram had the Aramites, which the Greeks called Syrians; as Laud founded the 
Laudites, which are now called Lydians. Of the four sons of Aram, Uz founded 
Trachonitis and Damascus: this country lies between Palestine and Celesyria. 
Ul founded Armenia; and Gather the Bactrians; and Mesa the Mesaneans; it is 
now called Charax Spasini. Sala was the son of Arphaxad; and his son was 
Heber, from whom they originally called the Jews Hebrews. 18 Heber begat 
Joctan and Phaleg: he was called Phaleg, because he was born at the dispersion 
of the nations to their several countries; for Phaleg among the Hebrews 
signifies division. Now Joctan, one of the sons of Heber, had these sons, 
Elmodad, Saleph, Asermoth, Jera, Adoram, Aizel, Decla, Ebal, Abimael, 
Sabeus, Ophir, Euilat, and Jobab. These inhabited from Cophen, an Indian 
river, and in part of Asia adjoining to it. And this shall suffice concerning the 
sons of Shem. 

5. I will now treat of the Hebrews. The son of Phaleg, whose father was 
Heber, was Ragau; whose son was Serug, to whom was born Nahor; his son 
was Terah, who was the father of Abraham, who accordingly was the tenth 
from Noah, and was born in the two hundred and ninety-second year after the 
deluge; for Terah begat Abram in his seventieth year. Nahor begat Haran when 
he was one hundred and twenty years old; Nahor was born to Serug in his 
hundred and thirty-second year; Ragau had Serug at one hundred and thirty; at 
the same age also Phaleg had Ragau; Heber begat Phaleg in his hundred and 
thirty-fourth year; he himself being begotten by Sala when he was a hundred 
and thirty years old, whom Arphaxad had for his son at the hundred and thirty- 
fifth year of his age. Arphaxad was the son of Shem, and born twelve years 
after the deluge. Now Abram had two brethren, Nahor and Haran: of these 
Haran left a son, Lot; as also Sarai and Milcha his daughters; and died among 
the Chaldeans, in a city of the Chaldeans, called Ur; and his monument is 
shown to this day. These married their nieces. Nahor married Milcha, and 
Abram married Sarai. Now Terah hating Chaldea, on account of his mourning 
for Haran, they all removed to Haran of Mesopotamia, where Terah died, and 
was buried, when he had lived to be two hundred and five years old; for the life 
of man was already, by degrees, diminished, and became shorter than before, 
till the birth of Moses; after whom the term of human life was one hundred and 
twenty years, God determining it to the length that Moses happened to live. 



Now Nahor had eight sons by Milcha; Uz and Buz, Kemuel, Chesed, Azau, 
Pheldas, Jadelph, and Bethuel. These were all the genuine sons of Nahor; for 
Teba, and Gaam, and Tachas, and Maaca, were born of Reuma his concubine: 
but Bethuel had a daughter, Rebecca, and a son, Laban. 

CHAPTER 7 

HOW ABRAM OUR FOREFATHER WENT OUT OF THE LAND OF THE 
CHALDEANS, AND LIVED IN THE LAND THEN CALLED CANAAN 
BUT NOW JUDEA 

1. Now Abram, having no son of his own, adopted Lot, his brother Haran's 
son, and his wife Sarai's brother; and he left the land of Chaldea when he was 
seventy-five years old, and at the command of God went into Canaan, and 
therein he dwelt himself, and left it to his posterity. He was a person of great 
sagacity, both for understanding all things and persuading his hearers, and not 
mistaken in his opinions; for which reason he began to have higher notions of 
virtue than others had, and he determined to renew and to change the opinion 
all men happened then to have concerning God; for he was the first that 
ventured to publish this notion, That there was but one God, the Creator of the 
universe; and that, as to other [gods], if they contributed any thing to the 
happiness of men, that each of them afforded it only according to his 
appointment, and not by their own power. This his opinion was derived from 
the irregular phenomena that were visible both at land and sea, as well as those 
that happen to the sun, and moon, and all the heavenly bodies, thus: — "If [said 
he] these bodies had power of their own, they would certainly take care of their 
own regular motions; but since they do not preserve such regularity, they make 
it plain, that in so far as they co-operate to our advantage, they do it not of their 
own abilities, but as they are subservient to Him that commands them, to whom 
alone we ought justly to offer our honor and thanksgiving." For which 
doctrines, when the Chaldeans, and other people of Mesopotamia, raised a 
tumult against him, he thought fit to leave that country; and at the command 
and by the assistance of God, he came and lived in the land of Canaan. And 
when he was there settled, he built an altar, and performed a sacrifice to God. 
2. Berosus mentions our father Abram without naming him, when he says 
thus: — "In the tenth generation after the Flood, there was among the Chaldeans 
a man righteous and great, and skilful in the celestial science." But Hecatseus 
does more than barely mention him; for he composed, and left behind him, a 
book concerning him. And Nicolaus of Damascus, in the fourth book of his 
History, says thus: — "Abram reigned at Damascus, being a foreigner, who came 
with an army out of the land above Babylon, called the land of the Chaldeans: 
but, after a long time, he got him up, and removed from that country also, with 



his people, and went into the land then called the land of Canaan, but now the 
land of Judea, and this when his posterity were become a multitude; as to which 
posterity of his, we relate their history in another work. Now the name of 
Abram is even still famous in the country of Damascus; and there is shown a 
village named from him, The Habitation of Abram." 

CHAPTER 8 

THAT WHEN THERE WAS A FAMINE IN CANAAN, ABRAM WENT 
THENCE INTO EGYPT; AND AFTER HE HAD CONTINUED THERE A 
WHILE HE RETURNED BACK AGAIN 

1. Now, after this, when a famine had invaded the land of Canaan, and Abram 
had discovered that the Egyptians were in a flourishing condition, he was 
disposed to go down to them, both to partake of the plenty they enjoyed, and to 
become an auditor of their priests, and to know what they said concerning the 
gods; designing either to follow them, if they had better notions than he, or to 
convert them into a better way, if his own notions proved the truest. Now, 
seeing he was to take Sarai with him, and was afraid of the madness of the 
Egyptians with regard to women, lest the king should kill him on occasion of 
his wife's great beauty, he contrived this device: — he pretended to be her 
brother, and directed her in a dissembling way to pretend the same, for he said 
it would be for their benefit. Now, as soon as he came into Egypt, it happened 
to Abram as he supposed it would; for the fame of his wife's beauty was greatly 
talked of; for which reason Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, would not be satisfied 
with what was reported of her, but would needs see her himself, and was 
preparing to enjoy her; but God put a stop to his unjust inclinations, by sending 
upon him a distemper, and a sedition against his government. And when he 
inquired of the priests how he might be freed from these calamities, they told 
him that this his miserable condition was derived from the wrath of God, upon 
account of his inclinations to abuse the stranger's wife. He then, out of fear, 
asked Sarai who she was, and who it was that she brought along with her. And 
when he had found out the truth, he excused himself to Abram, that supposing 
the woman to be his sister, and not his wife, he set his affections on her, as 
desiring an affinity with him by marrying her, but not as incited by lust to abuse 
her. He also made him a large present in money, and gave him leave to enter 
into conversation with the most learned among the Egyptians; from which 
conversation his virtue and his reputation became more conspicuous than they 
had been before. 

2. For whereas the Egyptians were formerly addicted to different customs, 
and despised one another's sacred and accustomed rites, and were very angry 
one with another on that account, Abram conferred with each of them, and, 



confuting the reasonings they made use of, every one for their own practices, 
demonstrated that such reasonings were vain and void of truth: whereupon he 
was admired by them in those conferences as a very wise man, and one of great 
sagacity, when he discoursed on any subject he undertook; and this not only in 
understanding it, but in persuading other men also to assent to him. He 
communicated to them arithmetic, and delivered to them the science of 
astronomy; for before Abram came into Egypt they were unacquainted with 
those parts of learning; for that science came from the Chaldeans into Egypt, 
and from thence to the Greeks also. 

3. As soon as Abram was come back into Canaan, he parted the land 
between him and Lot, upon account of the tumultuous behavior of their 
shepherds, concerning the pastures wherein they should feed their flocks. 
However, he gave Lot his option, or leave, to choose which lands he would 
take; and he took himself what the other left, which were the lower grounds at 
the foot of the mountains; and he himself dwelt in Hebron, which is a city 
seven years more ancient than Tunis of Egypt. But Lot possessed the land of 
the plain, and the river Jordan, not far from the city of Sodom, which was then 
a fine city, but is now destroyed, by the will and wrath of God, — the cause of 
which I shall show in its proper place hereafter. 

CHAPTER 9 

THE DESTRUCTION OF THE SODOMITES BY THE ASSYRIAN WAR 

At this time, when the Assyrians had the dominion over Asia, the people of 
Sodom were in a flourishing condition, both as to riches and the number of 
their youth. There were five kings that managed the affairs of this county: 
Ballas, Barsas, Senabar, and Sumobor, with the king of Bela; and each king led 
on his own troops: and the Assyrians made war upon them; and, dividing their 
army into four parts, fought against them. Now every part of the army had its 
own commander; and when the battle was joined, the Assyrians were 
conquerors, and imposed a tribute on the kings of the Sodomites, who 
submitted to this slavery twelve years; and so long they continued to pay their 
tribute: but on the thirteenth year they rebelled, and then the army of the 
Assyrians came upon them, under their commanders Amraphel, Arioch, 
Chodorlaomer, and Tidal. These kings had laid waste all Syria, and overthrown 
the offspring of the giants. And when they were come over against Sodom, they 
pitched their camp at the vale called the Slime Pits, for at that time there were 
pits in that place; but now, upon the destruction of the city of Sodom, that vale 
became the Lake Asphaltites, as it is called. However, concerning this lake we 
shall speak more presently. Now when the Sodomites joined battle with the 
Assyrians, and the fight was very obstinate, many of them were killed, and the 



rest were carried captive; among which captives was Lot, who had come to 
assist the Sodomites. 

CHAPTER 10 

HOW ABRAM FOUGHT WITH THE ASSYRIANS, AND OVERCAME 
THEM, AND SAVED THE SODOMITE PRISONERS, AND TOOK FROM 
THE ASSYRIANS THE PREY THEY HAD GOTTEN 
1. When, Abram heard of their calamity, he was at once afraid for Lot his 
kinsman, and pitied the Sodomites, his friends and neighbors; and thinking it 
proper to afford them assistance, he did not delay it, but marched hastily, and 
the fifth night fell upon the Assyrians, near Dan, for that is the name of the 
other spring of Jordan; and before they could arm themselves, he slew some as 
they were in their beds, before they could suspect any harm; and others, who 
were not yet gone to sleep, but were so drunk they could not fight, ran away. 
Abram pursued after them, till, on the second day, he drove them in a body unto 
Hoba, a place belonging to Damascus; and thereby demonstrated that victory 
does not depend on multitude and the number of hands, but the alacrity and 
courage of soldiers overcome the most numerous bodies of men, while he got 
the victory over so great an army with no more than three hundred and eighteen 
of his servants, and three of his friends: but all those that fled returned home 
ingloriously. 

2. So Abram, when he had saved the captive Sodomites, who had been 
taken by the Assyrians, and Lot also, his kinsman, returned home in peace. 
Now the king of Sodom met him at a certain place, which they called The 
King's Dale, where Melchisedec, king of the city Salem, received him. That 
name signifies, the righteous king: and such he was, without dispute, insomuch 
that, on this account, he was made the priest of God: however, they afterward 
called Salem Jerusalem. Now this Melchisedec supplied Abram's army in an 
hospitable manner, and gave them provisions in abundance; and as they were 
feasting, he began to praise him, and to bless God for subduing his enemies 
under him. And when Abram gave him the tenth part of his prey, he accepted of 
the gift: but the king of Sodom desired Abram to take the prey, but entreated 
that he might have those men restored to him whom Abram had saved from the 
Assyrians, because they belonged to him. But Abram would not do so; nor 
would make any other advantage of that prey than what his servants had eaten; 
but still insisted that he should afford a part to his friends that had assisted him 
in the battle. The first of them was called Eschol, and then Enner, and Mambre. 

3. And God commended his virtue, and said, thou shalt not however lose 
the rewards thou hast deserved to receive by such thy glorious actions. He 
answered, And what advantage will it be to me to have such rewards, when I 



have none to enjoy them after me? — for he was hitherto childless. And God 
promised that he should have a son, and that his posterity should be very 
numerous; insomuch that their number should be like the stars. When he heard 
that, he offered a sacrifice to God, as he commanded him. The manner of the 
sacrifice was this: — He took an heifer of three years old, and a she-goat of three 
years old, and a ram in like manner of three years old, and a turtle-dove, and a 
pigeon; 19 and as he was enjoined, he divided the three former, but the birds he 
did not divide. After which, before he built his altar, where the birds of prey 
flew about, as desirous of blood, a Divine voice came to him, declaring that 
their neighbors would be grievous to his posterity, when they should be in 
Egypt, for four hundred years, 20 during which time they should be afflicted, but 
afterwards should overcome their enemies, should conquer the Canaanites in 
war, and possess themselves of their land, and of their cities. 

4. Now Abram dwelt near the oak called Ogyges, — the place belongs to 
Canaan, not far from the city of Hebron. But being uneasy at his wife's 
barrenness, he entreated God to grant that he might have male issue; and God 
required of him to be of good courage, and said that he would add to all the rest 
of the benefits that he had bestowed upon him, ever since he led him out of 
Mesopotamia, the gift of children. Accordingly Sarai, at God's command, 
brought to his bed one of her handmaidens, a woman of Egyptian descent, in 
order to obtain children by her; and when this handmaid was with child, she 
triumphed, and ventured to affront Sarai, as if the dominion were to come to a 
son to be born of her. But when Abram resigned her into the hand of Sarai, to 
punish her, she contrived to fly away, as not able to bear the instances of Sarai's 
severity to her; and she entreated God to have compassion on her. Now a 
Divine Angel met her, as she was going forward in the wilderness, and bid her 
return to her master and mistress, for if she would submit to that wise advice, 
she would live better hereafter; for that the reason of her being in such a 
miserable case was this, that she had been ungrateful and arrogant towards her 
mistress. He also told her, that if she disobeyed God, and went on still in her 
way, she should perish; but if she would return back, she should become the 
mother of a son who should reign over that country. These admonitions she 
obeyed, and returned to her master and mistress, and obtained forgiveness. A 
little while afterwards, she bare Ismael; which may be interpreted Heard of 
God, because God had heard his mother's prayer. 

5. The forementioned son was born to Abram when he was eighty- six years 
old: but when he was ninety-nine, God appeared to him, and promised him that 
he should have a son by Sarai, and commanded that his name should be Isaac; 
and showed him, that from this son should spring great nations and kings, and 
that they should obtain all the land of Canaan by war, from Sidon to Egypt. But 
he charged him, in order to keep his posterity unmixed with others, that they 



should be circumcised in the flesh of their foreskin, and that this should be 
done on the eighth day after they were born: the reason of which circumcision I 
will explain in another place. And Abram inquiring also concerning Ismael, 
whether he should live or not, God signified to him that he should live to be 
very old, and should be the father of great nations. Abram therefore gave thanks 
to God for these blessings; and then he, and all his family, and his son Ismael, 
were circumcised immediately; the son being that day thirteen years of age, and 
he ninety-nine. 

CHAPTER 11 

HOW GOD OVERTHREW THE NATION OF THE SODOMITES, OUT OF 
HIS WRATH AGAINST THEM FOR THEIR SINS 

1. About this time the Sodomites grew proud, on account of their riches and 
great wealth; they became unjust towards men, and impious towards God, 
insomuch that they did not call to mind the advantages they received from him: 
they hated strangers, and abused themselves with Sodomitical practices. God 
was therefore much displeased at them, and determined to punish them for their 
pride, and to overthrow their city, and to lay waste their country, until there 
should neither plant nor fruit grow out of it. 

2. When God had thus resolved concerning the Sodomites, Abraham, as he 
sat by the oak of Mambre, at the door of his tent, saw three angels; and thinking 
them to be strangers, he rose up, and saluted them, and desired they would 
accept of an entertainment, and abide with him; to which, when they agreed, he 
ordered cakes of meal to be made presently; and when he had slain a calf, he 
roasted it, and brought it to them, as they sat under the oak. Now they made a 
show of eating; and besides, they asked him about his wife Sarah, where she 
was; and when he said she was within, they said they would come again 
hereafter, and find her become a mother. Upon which the woman laughed, and 
said that it was impossible she should bear children, since she was ninety years 
of age, and her husband was a hundred. Then they concealed themselves no 
longer, but declared that they were angels of God; and that one of them was 
sent to inform them about the child, and two of the overthrow of Sodom. 

3. When Abraham heard this, he was grieved for the Sodomites; and he rose 
up, and besought God for them, and entreated him that he would not destroy the 
righteous with the wicked. And when God had replied that there was no good 
man among the Sodomites; for if there were but ten such men among them, he 
would not punish any of them for their sins, Abraham held his peace. And the 
angels came to the city of the Sodomites, and Lot entreated them to accept of a 
lodging with him; for he was a very generous and hospitable man, and one that 
had learned to imitate the goodness of Abraham. Now when the Sodomites saw 



the young men to be of beautiful countenances, and this to an extraordinary 
degree, and that they took up their lodgings with Lot, they resolved themselves 
to enjoy these beautiful boys by force and violence; and when Lot exhorted 
them to sobriety, and not to offer any thing immodest to the strangers, but to 
have regard to their lodging in his house; and promised that if their inclinations 
could not be governed, he would expose his daughters to their lust, instead of 
these strangers; — neither thus were they made ashamed. 

4. But God was much displeased at their impudent behavior, so that he both 
smote those men with blindness, and condemned the Sodomites to universal 
destruction. But Lot, upon God's informing him of the future destruction of the 
Sodomites, went away, taking with him his wife and daughters, who were two, 
and still virgins; for those that were betrothed 21 to them were above the 
thoughts of going, and deemed that Lot's words were trifling. God then cast a 
thunderbolt upon the city, and set it on fire, with its inhabitants; and laid waste 
the country with the like burning, as I formerly said when I wrote the Jewish 
War. 22 But Lot's wife continually turning back to view the city as she went from 
it, and being too nicely inquisitive what would become of it, although God had 
forbidden her so to do, was changed into a pillar of salt; 23 for I have seen it, and 
it remains at this day. Now he and his daughters fled to a certain small place, 
encompassed with the fire, and settled in it: it is to this day called Zoar, for that 
is the word which the Hebrews use for a small thing. There it was that he lived 
a miserable life, on account of his having no company, and his want of 
provisions. 

5. But his daughters, thinking that all mankind were destroyed, approached 
to their father, 24 though taking care not to be perceived. This they did, that 
human kind might not utterly fail: and they bare sons; the son of the elder was 
named Moab, Which denotes one derived from his father; the younger bare 
Ammon, which name denotes one derived from a kinsman. The former of 
whom was the father of the Moabites, which is even still a great nation; the 
latter was the father of the Ammonites; and both of them are inhabitants of 
Celesyria. And such was the departure of Lot from among the Sodomites. 

CHAPTER 12 

CONCERNING ABIMELECH; AND CONCERNING ISMAEL THE SON OF 

ABRAHAM; AND CONCERNING THE ARABIANS, WHO WERE HIS 

POSTERITY 

1. Abraham now removed to Gerar of Palestine, leading Sarah along with him, 

under the notion of his sister, using the like dissimulation that he had used 

before, and this out of fear: for he was afraid of Abimelech, the king of that 

country, who did also himself fall in love with Sarah, and was disposed to 



corrupt her; but he was restrained from satisfying his lust by a dangerous 
distemper which befell him from God. Now when his physicians despaired of 
curing him, he fell asleep, and saw a dream, warning him not to abuse the 
stranger's wife; and when he recovered, he told his friends that God had 
inflicted that disease upon him, by way of punishment, for his injury to the 
stranger; and in order to preserve the chastity of his wife, for that she did not 
accompany him as his sister, but as his legitimate wife; and that God had 
promised to be gracious to him for the time to come, if this person be once 
secure of his wife's chastity. When he had said this, by the advice of his friends, 
he sent for Abraham, and bid him not to be concerned about his wife, or fear 
the corruption of her chastity; for that God took care of him, and that it was by 
his providence that he received his wife again, without her suffering any abuse. 
And he appealed to God, and to his wife's conscience; and said that he had not 
any inclination at first to enjoy her, if he had known she was his wife; but since, 
said he, thou leddest her about as thy sister, I was guilty of no offense. He also 
entreated him to be at peace with him, and to make God propitious to him; and 
that if he thought fit to continue with him, he should have what he wanted in 
abundance; but that if he designed to go away, he should be honorably 
conducted, and have whatsoever supply he wanted when he came thither. Upon 
his saying this, Abraham told him that his pretence of kindred to his wife was 
no lie, because she was his brother's daughter; and that he did not think himself 
safe in his travels abroad, without this sort of dissimulation; and that he was not 
the cause of his distemper, but was only solicitous for his own safety: he said 
also, that he was ready to stay with him. Whereupon Abimelech assigned him 
land and money; and they covenanted to live together without guile, and took 
an oath at a certain well called Beersheba, which may be interpreted, The Well 
of the Oath: and so it is named by the people of the country unto this day. 

2. Now in a little time Abraham had a son by Sarah, as God had foretold to 
him, whom he named Isaac, which signifies Laughter. And indeed they so 
called him, because Sarah laughed when God 25 said that she should bear a son, 
she not expecting such a thing, as being past the age of child-bearing, for she 
was ninety years old, and Abraham a hundred; so that this son was born to them 
both in the last year of each of those decimal numbers. And they circumcised 
him upon the eighth day and from that time the Jews continue the custom of 
circumcising their sons within that number of days. But as for the Arabians, 
they circumcise after the thirteenth year, because Ismael, the founder of their 
nation, who was born to Abraham of the concubine, was circumcised at that 
age; concerning whom I will presently give a particular account, with great 
exactness. 

3. As for Sarah, she at first loved Ismael, who was born of her own 
handmaid Hagar, with an affection not inferior to that of her own son, for he 



was brought up in order to succeed in the government; but when she herself had 
borne Isaac, she was not willing that Ismael should be brought up with him, as 
being too old for him, and able to do him injuries when their father should be 
dead; she therefore persuaded Abraham to send him and his mother to some 
distant country. Now, at the first, he did not agree to what Sarah was so zealous 
for, and thought it an instance of the greatest barbarity, to send away a young 
child 26 and a woman unprovided of necessaries; but at length he agreed to it, 
because God was pleased with what Sarah had determined: so he delivered 
Ismael t 

'Since Josephus, in his Preface, sect. 4, says that Moses wrote some things enigmatically, some 
allegorically, and the rest in plain words, since in his account of the first chapter of Genesis, and the first 
three verses of the second, he gives us no hints of any mystery at all; but when he here comes to ver. 4, etc. 
he says that Moses, after the seventh day was over, began to talk philosophically; it is not very improbable 
that he understood the rest of the second and the third chapters in some enigmatical, or allegorical, or 
philosophical sense. The change of the name of God just at this place, from Elohim to Jehovah Elohim, 
from God to Lord God, in the Hebrew, Samaritan, and Septuagint, does also not a little favor some such 
change in the narration or construction. 

2 We may observe here, that Josephus supposed man to be compounded of spirit, soul, and body, with St. 
Paul, 1 Thessalonians 5:23, and the rest of the ancients: he elsewhere says also, that the blood of animals 
was forbidden to be eaten, as having in it soul and spirit, Antiq. B. III. ch. 11. sect. 2. 

^Whence this strange notion came, which yet is not peculiar to Joseph, but, as Dr. Hudson says here, is 
derived from older authors, as if four of the greatest rivers in the world, running two of them at vast 
distances from the other two, by some means or other watered paradise, is hard to say. Only since Josephus 
has already appeared to allegorize this history, and take notice that these four names had a particular 
signification; Phison for Ganges, a multitude; Phrath for Euphrates, either a dispersion or a flower; Diglath 
for Tigris, what is swift, with narrowness; and Geon for Nile, what arises from the east, — we perhaps 
mistake him when we suppose he literally means those four rivers; especially as to Geon or Nile, which 
arises from the east, while he very well knew the literal Nile arises from the south; though what further 
allegorical sense he had in view, is now, I fear, impossible to be determined. 

4 By the Red Sea is not here meant the Arabian Gulf, which alone we now call by that name, but all that 
South Sea, which included the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf, as far as the East Indies; as Reland and 
Hudson here truly note, from the old geographers. 

5 Hence it appears, that Josephus thought several, at least, of the brute animals, particularly the serpent, 
could speak before the fall. And I think few of the more perfect kinds of those animals want the organs of 
speech at this day. Many inducements there are also to a notion, that the present state they are in, is not 
their original state; and that their capacities have been once much greater than we now see them, and are 
capable of being restored to their former condition. But as to this most ancient, and authentic, and probably 
allegorical account of that grand affair of the fall of our first parents, I have somewhat more to say in way 
of conjecture, but being only a conjecture, I omit it: only thus far, that the imputation of the sin of our first 
parents to their posterity, any further than as some way the cause or occasion of man's mortality, seems 
almost entirely groundless; and that both man, and the other subordinate creatures, are hereafter to be 
delivered from the curse then brought upon them, and at last to be delivered from that bondage of 
corruption, Romans 8:19-22. 

6 St. John's account of the reason why God accepted the sacrifice of Abel, and rejected that of Cain; as 
also why Cain slew Abel, on account of that his acceptance with God, is much better than this of Josephus: 
I mean, because "Cain was of the evil one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his 
own works were evil, and his brother's righteous," 1 John 3:12. Josephus's reason seems to be no better than 
a pharisaical notion or tradition. 

7 From this Jubal, not improbably, came Jobel, the trumpet of jobel or jubilee; that large and loud musical 
instrument, used in proclaiming the liberty at the year of jubilee. 

8 The number of Adam's children, as says the old tradition was thirty-three sons, and twenty-three 
daughters. 



9 What is here said of Seth and his posterity, that they were very good and virtuous, and at the same time 
very happy, without any considerable misfortunes, for seven generations, [see ch. 2. sect. 1, before; and ch. 
3. sect. 1, hereafter,] is exactly agreeable to the state of the world and the conduct of Providence in all the 
first ages. 

10 Of Josephus's mistake here, when he took Seth the son of Adam, for Seth or Sesostris, king of Egypt, 
the erector of this pillar in the land of Siriad, see Essay on the Old Testament, Appendix, p. 159, 160. 
Although the main of this relation might be true, and Adam might foretell a conflagration and a deluge, 
which all antiquity witnesses to be an ancient tradition; nay, Seth's posterity might engrave their inventions 
in astronomy on two such pillars; yet it is no way credible that they could survive the deluge, which has 
buried all such pillars and edifices far under ground in the sediment of its waters, especially since the like 
pillars of the Egyptian Seth or Sesostris were extant after the flood, in the land of Siriad, and perhaps in the 
days of Josephus also, as is shown in the place here referred to. 

"This notion, that the fallen angels were, in some sense, the fathers of the old giants, was the constant 
opinion of antiquity. 

12 Josephus here supposes that the life of these giants, for of them only do I understand him, was now 
reduced to 120 years; which is confirmed by the fragment of Enoch, sect. 10, in Authent. Rec. Part I. p. 
268. For as to the rest of mankind, Josephus himself confesses their lives were much longer than 120 years, 
for many generations after the flood, as we shall see presently; and he says they were gradually shortened 
till the days of Moses, and then fixed [for some time] at 120, ch. 6. sect. 5. Nor indeed need we suppose 
that either Enoch or Josephus meant to interpret these 120 years for the life of men before the flood, to be 
different from the 120 years of God's patience [perhaps while the ark was preparing] till the deluge; which I 
take to be the meaning of God when he threatened this wicked world, that if they so long continued 
impenitent, their days should be no more than 120 years. 

13 A cubit is about 21 English inches. 

"Josephus here truly determines, that the year that the Flood began, our Hebrew and Samaritan, and 
perhaps Josephus's own copy, more rightly placed it on the 17th day, instead of the 27th, as here; for 
Josephus agrees with them, as to the distance of 150 days to the 17th day of the 7th month, as Genesis 7. 
ult. with 8:3. 

15 Josephus here takes notice, that these ancient genealogies were first set down by those that then lived, 
and from them were transmitted down to posterity; which I suppose to be the true account of that matter. 
For there is no reason to imagine that men were not taught to read and write soon after they were taught to 
speak; and perhaps all by the Messiah himself, who, under the Father, was the Creator or Governor of 
mankind, and who frequently in those early days appeared to them. 

16 This Apobathvrion, or Place of Descent, is the proper rendering of the Armenian name of this very city. 
It is called in Ptolemy Naxuana, and by Moses Chorenensis, the Armenian historian, Idsheuan; but at the 
place itself Nachidsheuan, which signifies The first place of descent, and is a lasting monument of the 
preservation of Noah in the ark, upon the top of that mountain, at whose foot it was built, as the first city or 
town after the flood. See Antiq. B. XX. ch. 2. sect. 3; and Moses Chorenensis, who also says elsewhere, 
that another town was related by tradition to have been called Seron, or, The Place of Dispersion, on 
account of the dispersion of Xisuthrus's or Noah's sons, from thence first made. Whether any remains of 
this ark be still preserved, as the people of the country suppose, I cannot certainly tell. Mons. Tournefort 
had, not very long since, a mind to see the place himself, but met with too great dangers and difficulties to 
venture through them. 

17 One observation ought not here to be neglected, with regard to that Ethiopic war which Moses, as 
general of the Egyptians, put an end to, Antiq. B. II. ch. 10, and about which our late writers seem very 
much unconcerned; viz. that it was a war of that consequence, as to occasion the removal or destruction of 
six or seven nations of the posterity of Mitzraim, with their cities; which Josephus would not have said, if 
he had not had ancient records to justify those his assertions, though those records be now all lost. 

18 That the Jews were called Hebrews from this their progenitor Heber, our author Josephus here rightly 
affirms; and not from Abram the Hebrew, or passenger over Euphrates, as many of the moderns suppose. 
Shem is also called the father of all the children of Heber, or of all the Hebrews, in a history long before 
Abram passed over Euphrates, Genesis 10:21, though it must be confessed that, Genesis 14:13, where the 
original says they told Abram the Hebrew, the Septuagint renders it the passenger, perates: but this is 
spoken only of Abram himself, who had then lately passed over Euphrates, and is another signification of 
the Hebrew word, taken as an appellative, and not as a proper name. 

"It is worth noting here, that God required no other sacrifices under the law of Moses, than what were 



taken from these five kinds of animals which he here required of Abram. Nor did the Jews feed upon any 
other domestic animals than the three here named, as Reland observes on Antiq. B. IV. ch. 4. sect. 4. 

20 As to this affliction of Abram's posterity for 400 years, see Antiq. B. II. ch. 9. sect. 1. 

21 These sons-in-law to Lot, as they are called, Genesis 19:12-14, might be so styled, because they were 
betrothed to Lot's daughters, though not yet married to them. See the note on Antiq. B. XIV. ch. 13. sect. 1. 

22 0f the War, B. IV ch. 8. sect. 4. 

23 This pillar of salt was, we see here, standing in the days of Josephus, and he had seen it. That it was 
standing then is also attested by Clement of Rome, contemporary with Josephus; as also that it was so in 
the next century, is attested by Irenaeus, with the addition of an hypothesis, how it came to last so long, 
with all its members entire. — Whether the account that some modern travelers give be true, that it is still 
standing, I do not know. Its remote situation, at the most southern point of the Sea of Sodom, in the wild 
and dangerous deserts of Arabia, makes it exceeding difficult for inquisitive travelers to examine the place; 
and for common reports of country people, at a distance, they are not very satisfactory. In the mean time, I 
have no opinion of Le Clerc's dissertation or hypothesis about this question, which can only be determined 
by eye-witnesses. When Christian princes, so called, lay aside their foolish and unchristian wars and 
quarrels, and send a body of fit persons to travel over the east, and bring us faithful accounts of all ancient 
monuments, and procure us copies of all ancient records, at present lost among us, we may hope for full 
satisfaction in such inquiries; but hardly before. 

24 I see no proper wicked intention in these daughters of Lot, when in a case which appeared to them of 
unavoidable necessity, they procured themselves to be with child by their father. Without such an 
unavoidable necessity, incest is a horrid crime; but whether in such a case of necessity, as they apprehended 
this to be, according to Josephus, it was any such crime, I am not satisfied. In the mean time, their making 
their father drunk, and their solicitous concealment of what they did from him, shows that they despaired of 
persuading him to an action which, at the best, could not but be very suspicious and shocking to so good a 



man. 

25 



It is well worth observation, that Josephus here calls that principal Angel, who appeared to Abraham 
and foretold the birth of Isaac, directly God; which language of Josephus here, prepares us to believe those 
other expressions of his, that Jesus was a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, Antiq. B. XVIII. ch. 3. 
sect. 3, and of God the Word, in his homily concerning Hades, may be both genuine. Nor is the other 
expression of Divine Angel, used presently, and before, also of any other signification. 

26 Josephus here calls Ismael a young child or infant, though he was about 13 years of age; as Judas calls 
himself and his brethren young men, when he was 47, and had two children, Antiq. B. II. ch. 6. sect. 8, and 
they were of much the same age; as is a damsel of 12 years old called a little child, Mark 5:39-42, five 
several times. Herod is also said by Josephus to be a very young man at 25. See the note on Antiq. B. XIV 
ch. 9. sect 2, and of the War, B. I. ch. 10. And Aristobulus is styled a very little child at 16 years of age, 
Antiq. B. XV ch. 2. sect. 6, 7. Domitian also is called by him a very young child, when he went on his 
German expedition at about 18 years of age, of the War, B. VII. ch. 4. sect. 2. Samson's wife, and Ruth, 
when they were widows, are called children, Antiq. B. V ch. 8. sect. 6, and ch. 9. sect. 2 3. 

27 Note, that both here and Hebrews 11:17, Isaac is called Abraham's only begotten son, though he at the 
same time had another son, Ismael. The Septuagint expresses the true meaning, by rendering the text the 
beloved son. 

28 Here is a plain error in the copies which say that king David afterwards built the temple on this Mount 
Moriah, while it was certainly no other than king Solomon who built that temple, as indeed Procopius cites 
it from Josephus. For it was for certain David, and not Solomon, who built the first altar there, as we learn, 
2 Samuel 24:18, etc.; 1 Chronicles 21:22, etc.; and Antiq. B. VII. ch. 13. sect. 4. 

29 It seems both here, and in God's parallel blessing to Jacob, ch. 19. sect. 1, that Josephus had yet no 
notion of the hidden meaning of that most important and most eminent promise, "In thy seed shall all the 
families of the earth be blessed. He saith not, and of seeds, as of many, but as of one; and to thy seed, which 
is Christ," Galatians 3:16. Nor is it any wonder, he being, I think, as yet not a Christian. And had he been a 
Christian, yet since he was, to be sure, till the latter part of his life, no more than an Ebionite Christian, 
who, above all the apostles, rejected and despised St. Paul, it would be no great wonder if he did not now 
follow his interpretation. In the mean time, we have in effect St. Paul's exposition in the Testament of 
Reuben, sect. 6, in Authent. Rec. Part I. p. 302, who charges his sons "to worship the seed of Judah, who 
should die for them in visible and invisible wars; and should be among them an eternal king." Nor is that 
observation of a learned foreigner of my acquaintance to be despised, who takes notice, that as seeds in the 
plural, must signify posterity, so seed in the singular may signify either posterity, or a single person; and 



that in this promise of all nations being happy in the seed of Abraham, or Isaac, or Jacob, etc. it is always 
used in the singular. To which I shall add, that it is sometimes, as it were, paraphrased by the son of 
Abraham, the son of David, etc., which is capable of no such ambiguity. 

30 The birth of Jacob and Esau is here said to be after Abraham's death: it should have been after Sarah's 
death. The order of the narration in Genesis, not always exactly according to the order of time, seems to 
have led Josephus into this error, as Dr. Bernard observes here. 

31 For Seir in Josephus, the coherence requires that we read Esau or Seir, which signify the same thing. 

32 The supper of savory meat, as we call it, Genesis 27:4, to be caught by hunting, was intended plainly 
for a festival or a sacrifice; and upon the prayers that were frequent at sacrifices, Isaac expected, as was 
then usual in such eminent cases, that a divine impulse would come upon him, in order to the blessing of 
his son there present, and his foretelling his future behavior and fortune. Whence it must be, that when 
Isaac had unwittingly blessed Jacob, and was afterwards made sensible of his mistake, yet did he not 
attempt to alter it, how earnestly soever his affection for Esau might incline him to wish it might be altered, 
because he knew that this blessing came not from himself, but from God, and that an alteration was out of 
his power. A second afflatus then came upon him, and enabled him to foretell Esau's future behavior and 
foretell Esau's future behavior and fortune also. 

"Whether Jacob or his mother Rebeka were most blameable in this imposition upon Isaac in his old age, 
I cannot determine. However the blessing being delivered as a prediction of future events, by a Divine 
impulse, and foretelling things to befall to the posterity of Jacob and Esau in future ages, was for certain 
providential; and according to what Rebeka knew to be the purpose of God, when he answered her inquiry, 
"before the children were born," Genesis 25:23, "that one people should be stronger than the other people; 
and the elder, Esau, should serve the younger, Jacob." Whether Isaac knew or remembered this old oracle, 
delivered in our copies only to Rebeka; or whether, if he knew and remembered it, he did not endeavor to 
alter the Divine determination, out of his fondness for his elder and worser son Esau, to the damage of his 
younger and better son Jacob, as Josephus elsewhere supposes, Antiq. B. II. ch. 7. sect. 3; I cannot certainly 
say. if so, this might tempt Rebeka to contrive, and Jacob to put this imposition upon him. However, 
Josephus says here, that it was Isaac, and not Rebeka, who inquired of God at first, and received the 
forementioned oracle, sect. 1 ; which, if it be the true reading, renders Isaac's procedure more inexcusable. 
Nor was it probably any thing else that so much encouraged Esau formerly to marry two Canaanitish wives, 
without his parents' consent, as Isaac's unhappy fondness for him. 

34 By this "deprivation of the kingdom that was to be given Esau of God," as the first-born, it appears that 
Josephus thought that a "kingdom to be derived from God" was due to him whom Isaac should bless as his 
first-born, which I take to be that kingdom which was expected under the Messiah, who therefore was to be 
born of his posterity whom Isaac should so bless. Jacob therefore by obtaining this blessing of the first- 
born, became the genuine heir of that kingdom, in opposition to Esau. 

35 Here we have the difference between slaves for life and servants, such as we now hire for a time 
agreed upon on both sides, and dismiss again after he time contracted for is over, which are no slaves, but 
free men and free women. Accordingly, when the Apostolical Constitutions forbid a clergyman to marry 
perpetual servants or slaves, B. VI. ch. 17, it is meant only of the former sort; as we learn elsewhere from 
the same Constitutions, ch. 47. Can. LXXXII. But concerning these twelve sons of Jacob, the reasons of 
their several names, and the times of their several births in the intervals here assigned, their several 
excellent characters, their several faults and repentance, the several accidents of their lives, with their 
several prophecies at their deaths, see the Testaments of these twelve patriarchs, still preserved at large in 
the Authent. Rec. Part I. p. 294-433. 

36 I formerly explained these mandrakes, as we, with the Septuagint, and Josephus, render the Hebrew 
word Dudaim, of the Syrian Maux, with Ludolphus, Anthent. Rec. Part I. p. 420; but have since seen such a 
very probable account in M. S. of my learned friend Mr. Samuel Barker, of what we still call mandrakes, 
and their description by the ancient naturalists and physicians, as inclines me to think these here mentioned 
were really mandrakes, and no other. 

37 Perhaps this may be the proper meaning of the word Israel, by the present and the old Jerusalem 
analogy of the Hebrew tongue. In the mean time, it is certain that the Hellenists of the first century, in 
Egypt and elsewhere, interpreted Israel to be a man seeing God, as is evident from the argument fore -cited. 

38 Of this slaughter of the Shechemites by Simeon and Levi, see Authent. Rec. Part I. p. 309, 418, 432- 
439. But why Josephus has omitted the circumcision of these Shechemites, as the occasion of their death; 
and of Jacob's great grief, as in the Testament of Levi, sect. 5; I cannot tell. 

39 Since Benoni signifies the son of my sorrow, and Benjamin the son of days, or one born in the father's 



old age, Genesis 44:20, 1 suspect Josephus's present copies to be here imperfect, and suppose that, in 
correspondence to other copies, he wrote that Rachel called her son's name Benoni, but his father called 
him Benjamin, Genesis 35:18. As for Benjamin, as commonly explained, the son of the right hand, it makes 
no sense at all, and seems to be a gross modern error only. The Samaritan always writes this name truly 
Benjamin, which probably is here of the same signification, only with the Chaldee termination in, instead 
of im in the Hebrew; as we pronounce cherubin or cherubim indifferently. Accordingly, both the Testament 
of Benjamin, sect. 2, p. 401, and Philo de Nominum Mutatione, p. 1059, write the name Benjamin, but 
explain it not the son of the right hand, but the son of days. 

BOOK 2 

CONTAINING THE INTERVAL OF TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY 

YEARS 

FROM THE DEATH OF ISAAC TO THE EXODUS OUT OF EGYPT 



CHAPTER 1 

HOW ESAU AND JACOB, ISAACS SONS, DIVIDED THEIR HABITATION; AND 
ESAU POSSESSED IDUMEA, AND JACOB CANAAN 



1. After the death of Isaac, his sons divided their habitations respectively; nor 
did they retain what they had before; but Esau departed from the city of 
Hebron, and left it to his brother, and dwelt in Seir, and ruled over Idumea. He 
called the country by that name from himself, for he was named Adorn; which 
appellation he got on the following occasion: — One day returning from the toil 
of hunting very hungry, (it was when he was a child in age,) he lighted on his 
brother when he was getting ready lentil-pottage for his dinner, which was of a 
very red color; on which account he the more earnestly longed for it, and 
desired him to give him some of it to eat: but he made advantage of his 
brother's hunger, and forced him to resign up to him his birthright; and he, 
being pinched with famine, resigned it up to him, under an oath. Whence it 
came, that, on account of the redness of this pottage, he was, in way of jest, by 
his contemporaries, called Adorn, for the Hebrews call what is red Adorn; and 
this was the name given to the country; but the Greeks gave it a more agreeable 
pronunciation, and named it Idumea. 

2. He became the father of five sons; of whom Jaus, and Jalomus, and 
Coreus, were by one wife, whose name was Alibama; but of the rest, Aliphaz 
was born to him by Ada, and Raguel by Basemmath: and these were the sons of 
Esau. Aliphaz had five legitimate sons; Theman, Omer, Saphus, Gotham, and 
Kanaz; for Amalek was not legitimate, but by a concubine, whose name was 
Thamna. These dwelt in that part of Idumea which is called Gebalitis, and that 
denominated from Amalek, Amalekitis; for Idumea was a large country, and did 



then preserve the name of the whole, while in its several parts it kept the names 
of its peculiar inhabitants. 

CHAPTER 2 

HOW JOSEPH, THE YOUNGEST OF JACOB'S SONS, WAS ENVIED BY 
HIS BRETHREN, WHEN CERTAIN DREAMS HAD FORESHOWN HIS 
FUTURE HAPPINESS 

1. It happened that Jacob came to so great happiness as rarely any other person 
had arrived at. He was richer than the rest of the inhabitants of that country; and 
was at once envied and admired for such virtuous sons, for they were deficient 
in nothing, but were of great souls, both for laboring with their hands and 
enduring of toil; and shrewd also in understanding. And God exercised such a 
providence over him, and such a care of his happiness, as to bring him the 
greatest blessings, even out of what appeared to be the most sorrowful 
condition; and to make him the cause of our forefathers' departure out of Egypt, 
him and his posterity. The occasion was this: — When Jacob had his son Joseph 
born to him by Rachel, his father loved him above the rest of his sons, both 
because of the beauty of his body, and the virtues of his mind, for he excelled 
the rest in prudence. This affection of his father excited the envy and the hatred 
of his brethren; as did also his dreams which he saw, and related to his father, 
and to them, which foretold his future happiness, it being usual with mankind 
to envy their very nearest relations such their prosperity. Now the visions which 
Joseph saw in his sleep were these: — 

2. When they were in the middle of harvest, and Joseph was sent by his 
father, with his brethren, to gather the fruits of the earth, he saw a vision in a 
dream, but greatly exceeding the customary appearances that come when we 
are asleep; which, when he was got up, he told his brethren, that they might 
judge what it portended. He said, he saw the last night, that his wheat-sheaf 
stood still in the place where he set it, but that their sheaves ran to bow down to 
it, as servants bow down to their masters. But as soon as they perceived the 
vision foretold that he should obtain power and great wealth, and that his power 
should be in opposition to them, they gave no interpretation of it to Joseph, as if 
the dream were not by them understood: but they prayed that no part of what 
they suspected to be its meaning might come to pass; and they bare a still 
greater hatred to him on that account. 

3. But God, in opposition to their envy, sent a second vision to Joseph, 
which was much more wonderful than the former; for it seemed to him that the 
sun took with him the moon, and the rest of the stars, and came down to the 
earth, and bowed down to him. He told the vision to his father, and that, as 
suspecting nothing of ill-will from his brethren, when they were there also, and 



desired him to interpret what it should signify. Now Jacob was pleased with the 
dream: for, considering the prediction in his mind, and shrewdly and wisely 
guessing at its meaning, he rejoiced at the great things thereby signified, 
because it declared the future happiness of his son; and that, by the blessing of 
God, the time would come when he should be honored, and thought worthy of 
worship by his parents and brethren, as guessing that the moon and sun were 
like his mother and father; the former, as she that gave increase and 
nourishment to all things; and the latter, he that gave form and other powers to 
them; and that the stars were like his brethren, since they were eleven in 
number, as were the stars that receive their power from the sun and moon. 

4. And thus did Jacob make a judgment of this vision, and that a shrewd one 
also. But these interpretations caused very great grief to Joseph's brethren; and 
they were affected to him hereupon as if he were a certain stranger, that was to 
those good things which were signified by the dreams and not as one that was a 
brother, with whom it was probable they should be joint-partakers; and as they 
had been partners in the same parentage, so should they be of the same 
happiness. They also resolved to kill the lad; and having fully ratified that 
intention of theirs, as soon as their collection of the fruits was over, they went 
to Shechem, which is a country good for feeding of cattle, and for pasturage; 
there they fed their flocks, without acquainting their father with their removal 
thither; whereupon he had melancholy suspicions about them, as being ignorant 
of his sons' condition, and receiving no messenger from the flocks that could 
inform him of the true state they were in; so, because he was in great fear about 
them, he sent Joseph to the flocks, to learn the circumstances his brethren were 
in, and to bring him word how they did. 

CHAPTER 3 

HOW JOSEPH WAS THUS SOLD BY HIS BRETHREN INTO EGYPT, BY 
REASON OF THEIR HATRED TO HIM; AND HOW HE THERE GREW 
FAMOUS AND ILLUSTRIOUS AND HAD HIS BRETHREN UNDER HIS 
POWER 

1. Now these brethren rejoiced as soon as they saw their brother coming to 
them, not indeed as at the presence of a near relation, or as at the presence of 
one sent by their father, but as at the presence of an enemy, and one that by 
Divine Providence was delivered into their hands; and they already resolved to 
kill him, and not let slip the opportunity that lay before them. But when Reubel, 
the eldest of them, saw them thus disposed, and that they had agreed together to 
execute their purpose, he tried to restrain them, showing them the heinous 
enterprise they were going about, and the horrid nature of it; that this action 
would appear wicked in the sight of God, and impious before men, even though 



they should kill one not related to them; but much more flagitious and 
detestable to appear to have slain their own brother, by which act the father 
must be treated unjustly in the son's slaughter, and the mother 1 also be in 
perplexity while she laments that her son is taken away from her, and this not in 
a natural way neither. So he entreated them to have a regard to their own 
consciences, and wisely to consider what mischief would betide them upon the 
death of so good a child, and their youngest brother; that they would also fear 
God, who was already both a spectator and a witness of the designs they had 
against their brother; that he would love them if they abstained from this act, 
and yielded to repentance and amendment; but in case they proceeded to do the 
fact, all sorts of punishments would overtake them from God for this murder of 
their brother, since they polluted his providence, which was every where 
present, and which did not overlook what was done, either in deserts or in 
cities; for wheresoever a man is, there ought he to suppose that God is also. He 
told them further, that their consciences would be their enemies, if they 
attempted to go through so wicked an enterprise, which they can never avoid, 
whether it be a good conscience; or whether it be such a one as they will have 
within them when once they have killed their brother. He also added this 
besides to what he had before said, that it was not a righteous thing to kill a 
brother, though he had injured them; that it is a good thing to forget the actions 
of such near friends, even in things wherein they might seem to have offended; 
but that they were going to kill Joseph, who had been guilty of nothing that was 
ill towards them, in whose case the infirmity of his small age should rather 
procure him mercy, and move them to unite together in the care of his 
preservation. That the cause of killing him made the act itself much worse, 
while they determined to take him off out of envy at his future prosperity, an 
equal share of which they would naturally partake while he enjoyed it, since 
they were to him not strangers, but the nearest relations, for they might reckon 
upon what God bestowed upon Joseph as their own; and that it was fit for them 
to believe, that the anger of God would for this cause be more severe upon 
them, if they slew him who was judged by God to be worthy of that prosperity 
which was to be hoped for; and while, by murdering him, they made it 
impossible for God to bestow it upon him. 

2. Reubel said these and many other things, and used entreaties to them, 
and thereby endeavored to divert them from the murder of their brother. But 
when he saw that his discourse had not mollified them at all, and that they 
made haste to do the fact, he advised them to alleviate the wickedness they 
were going about, in the manner of taking Joseph off; for as he had exhorted 
them first, when they were going to revenge themselves, to be dissuaded from 
doing it; so, since the sentence for killing their brother had prevailed, he said 
that they would not, however, be so grossly guilty, if they would be persuaded 



to follow his present advice, which would include what they were so eager 
about, but was not so very bad, but, in the distress they were in, of a lighter 
nature. He begged of them, therefore, not to kill their brother with their own 
hands, but to cast him into the pit that was hard by, and so to let him die; by 
which they would gain so much, that they would not defile their own hands 
with his blood. To this the young men readily agreed; so Reubel took the lad 
and tied him to a cord, and let him down gently into the pit, for it had no water 
at all in it; who, when he had done this, went his way to seek for such pasturage 
as was fit for feeding his flocks. 

3. But Judas, being one of Jacob's sons also, seeing some Arabians, of the 
posterity of Ismael, carrying spices and Syrian wares out of the land of Gilead 
to the Egyptians, after Rubel was gone, advised his brethren to draw Joseph out 
of the pit, and sell him to the Arabians; for if he should die among strangers a 
great way off, they should be freed from this barbarous action. This, therefore, 
was resolved on; so they drew Joseph up out of the pit, and sold him to the 
merchants for twenty pounds. 2 He was now seventeen years old. But Reubel, 
coming in the night-time to the pit, resolved to save Joseph, without the privity 
of his brethren; and when, upon his calling to him, he made no answer, he was 
afraid that they had destroyed him after he was gone; of which he complained 
to his brethren; but when they had told him what they had done, Reubel left off 
his mourning. 

4. When Joseph's brethren had done thus to him, they considered what they 
should do to escape the suspicions of their father. Now they had taken away 
from Joseph the coat which he had on when he came to them at the time they 
let him down into the pit; so they thought proper to tear that coat to pieces, and 
to dip it into goats' blood, and then to carry it and show it to their father, that he 
might believe he was destroyed by wild beasts. And when they had so done, 
they came to the old man, but this not till what had happened to his son had 
already come to his knowledge. Then they said that they had not seen Joseph, 
nor knew what mishap had befallen him; but that they had found his coat 
bloody and torn to pieces, whence they had a suspicion that he had fallen 
among wild beasts, and so perished, if that was the coat he had on when he 
came from home. Now Jacob had before some better hopes that his son was 
only made a captive; but now he laid aside that notion, and supposed that this 
coat was an evident argument that he was dead, for he well remembered that 
this was the coat he had on when he sent him to his brethren; so he hereafter 
lamented the lad as now dead, and as if he had been the father of no more than 
one, without taking any comfort in the rest; and so he was also affected with his 
misfortune before he met with Joseph's brethren, when he also conjectured that 
Joseph was destroyed by wild beasts. He sat down also clothed in sackcloth and 
in heavy affliction, insomuch that he found no ease when his sons comforted 



him, neither did his pains remit by length of time. 

CHAPTER 4 

CONCERNING THE SIGNAL CHASTITY OF JOSEPH 
1. Now Potiphar, an Egyptian, who was chief cook to king Pharaoh, bought 
Joseph of the merchants, who sold him to him. He had him in the greatest 
honor, and taught him the learning that became a free man, and gave him leave 
to make use of a diet better than was allotted to slaves. He intrusted also the 
care of his house to him. So he enjoyed these advantages, yet did not he leave 
that virtue which he had before, upon such a change of his condition; but he 
demonstrated that wisdom was able to govern the uneasy passions of life, in 
such as have it in reality, and do not only put it on for a show, under a present 
state of prosperity. 

2. For when his master's wife was fallen in love with him, both on account 
of his beauty of body, and his dexterous management of affairs; and supposed, 
that if she should make it known to him, she could easily persuade him to come 
and lie with her, and that he would look upon it as a piece of happy fortune that 
his mistress should entreat him, as regarding that state of slavery he was in, and 
not his moral character, which continued after his condition was changed. So 
she made known her naughty inclinations, and spake to him about lying with 
her. However, he rejected her entreaties, not thinking it agreeable to religion to 
yield so far to her, as to do what would tend to the affront and injury of him that 
purchased him, and had vouchsafed him so great honors. He, on the contrary, 
exhorted her to govern that passion; and laid before her the impossibility of her 
obtaining her desires, which he thought might be conquered, if she had no hope 
of succeeding; and he said, that as to himself, he would endure any thing 
whatever before he would be persuaded to it; for although it was fit for a slave, 
as he was, to do nothing contrary to his mistress, he might well be excused in a 
case where the contradiction was to such sort of commands only. But this 
opposition of Joseph, when she did not expect it, made her still more violent in 
her love to him; and as she was sorely beset with this naughty passion, so she 
resolved to compass her design by a second attempt. 

3. When, therefore, there was a public festival coming on, in which it was 
the custom for women to come to the public solemnity; she pretended to her 
husband that she was sick, as contriving an opportunity for solitude and leisure, 
that she might entreat Joseph again. Which opportunity being obtained, she 
used more kind words to him than before; and said that it had been good for 
him to have yielded to her first solicitation, and to have given her no repulse, 
both because of the reverence he ought to bear to her dignity who solicited him, 
and because of the vehemence of her passion, by which she was forced though 



she were his mistress to condescend beneath her dignity; but that he may now, 
by taking more prudent advice, wipe off the imputation of his former folly; for 
whether it were that he expected the repetition of her solicitations she had now 
made, and that with greater earnestness than before, for that she had pretended 
sickness on this very account, and had preferred his conversation before the 
festival and its solemnity; or whether he opposed her former discourses, as not 
believing she could be in earnest; she now gave him sufficient security, by thus 
repeating her application, that she meant not in the least by fraud to impose 
upon him; and assured him, that if he complied with her affections, he might 
expect the enjoyment of the advantages he already had; and if he were 
submissive to her, he should have still greater advantages; but that he must look 
for revenge and hatred from her, in case he rejected her desires, and preferred 
the reputation of chastity before his mistress; for that he would gain nothing by 
such procedure, because she would then become his accuser, and would falsely 
pretend to her husband, that he had attempted her chastity; and that Potiphar 
would hearken to her words rather than to his, let his be ever so agreeable to the 
truth. 

4. When the woman had said thus, and even with tears in her eyes, neither 
did pity dissuade Joseph from his chastity, nor did fear compel him to a 
compliance with her; but he opposed her solicitations, and did not yield to her 
threatenings, and was afraid to do an ill thing, and chose to undergo the 
sharpest punishment rather than to enjoy his present advantages, by doing what 
his own conscience knew would justly deserve that he should die for it. He also 
put her in mind that she was a married woman, and that she ought to cohabit 
with her husband only; and desired her to suffer these considerations to have 
more weight with her than the short pleasure of lustful dalliance, which would 
bring her to repentance afterwards, would cause trouble to her, and yet would 
not amend what had been done amiss. He also suggested to her the fear she 
would be in lest they should be caught; and that the advantage of concealment 
was uncertain, and that only while the wickedness was not known [would there 
be any quiet for them]; but that she might have the enjoyment of her husband's 
company without any danger. And he told her, that in the company of her 
husband she might have great boldness from a good conscience, both before 
God and before men. Nay, that she would act better like his mistress, and make 
use of her authority over him better while she persisted in her chastity, than 
when they were both ashamed for what wickedness they had been guilty of; 
and that it is much better to a life, well and known to have been so, than upon 
the hopes of the concealment of evil practices. 

5. Joseph, by saying this, and more, tried to restrain the violent passion of 
the woman, and to reduce her affections within the rules of reason; but she 
grew more ungovernable and earnest in the matter; and since she despaired of 



persuading him, she laid her hands upon him, and had a mind to force him. But 
as soon as Joseph had got away from her anger, leaving also his garment with 
her, for he left that to her, and leaped out of her chamber, she was greatly afraid 
lest he should discover her lewdness to her husband, and greatly troubled at the 
affront he had offered her; so she resolved to be beforehand with him, and to 
accuse Joseph falsely to Potiphar, and by that means to revenge herself on him 
for his pride and contempt of her; and she thought it a wise thing in itself, and 
also becoming a woman, thus to prevent his accusation. Accordingly she sat 
sorrowful and in confusion, framing herself so hypocritically and angrily, that 
the sorrow, which was really for her being disappointed of her lust, might 
appear to be for the attempt upon her chastity; so that when her husband came 
home, and was disturbed at the sight of her and inquired what was the cause of 
the disorder she was in, she began to accuse Joseph: and, "O husband," said 
she, "mayst thou not live a day longer if thou dost not punish the wicked slave 
who has desired to defile thy bed; who has neither minded who he was when he 
came to our house, so as to behave himself with modesty; nor has he been 
mindful of what favors he had received from thy bounty (as he must be an 
ungrateful man indeed, unless he, in every respect, carry himself in a manner 
agreeable to us): this man, I say, laid a private design to abuse thy wife, and this 
at the time of a festival, observing when thou wouldst be absent. So that it now 
is clear that his modesty, as it appeared to be formerly, was only because of the 
restraint he was in out of fear of thee, but that he was not really of a good 
disposition. This has been occasioned by his being advanced to honor beyond 
what he deserved, and what he hoped for; insomuch that he concluded, that he 
who was deemed fit to be trusted with thy estate and the government of thy 
family, and was preferred above thy eldest servants, might be allowed to touch 
thy wife also." Thus when she had ended her discourse, she showed him his 
garment, as if he then left it with her when he attempted to force her. But 
Potiphar not being able to disbelieve what his wife's tears showed, and what his 
wife said, and what he saw himself, and being seduced by his love to his wife, 
did not set himself about the examination of the truth; but taking it for granted 
that his wife was a modest woman, and condemning Joseph as a wicked man, 
he threw him into the malefactors' prison; and had a still higher opinion of his 
wife, and bare her witness that she was a woman of a becoming modesty and 
chastity. 

CHAPTER 5 

WHAT THINGS BEFELL JOSEPH IN PRISON 

1. Now Joseph, commending all his affairs to God, did not betake himself to 

make his defence, nor to give an account of the exact circumstances of the fact, 



but silently underwent the bonds and the distress he was in, firmly believing 
that God, who knew the cause of his affliction, and the truth of the fact, would 
be more powerful than those that inflicted the punishments upon him: — a proof 
of whose providence he quickly received; for the keeper of the prison taking 
notice of his care and fidelity in the affairs he had set him about, and the dignity 
of his countenance, relaxed his bonds, and thereby made his heavy calamity 
lighter, and more supportable to him. He also permitted him to make use of a 
diet better than that of the rest of the prisoners. Now, as his fellow prisoners, 
when their hard labors were over, fell to discoursing one among another, as is 
usual in such as are equal sufferers, and to inquire one of another what were the 
occasions of their being condemned to a prison: among them the king's 
cupbearer, and one that had been respected by him, was put in bonds, upon the 
king's anger at him. This man was under the same bonds with Joseph, and grew 
more familiar with him; and upon his observing that Joseph had a better 
understanding than the rest had, he told him of a dream he had, and desired he 
would interpret its meaning, complaining that, besides the afflictions he 
underwent from the king, God did also add to him trouble from his dreams. 

2. He therefore said, that in his sleep he saw three clusters of grapes 
hanging upon three branches of a vine, large already, and ripe for gathering; 
and that he squeezed them into a cup which the king held in his hand; and when 
he had strained the wine, he gave it to the king to drink, and that he received it 
from him with a pleasant countenance. This, he said, was what he saw; and he 
desired Joseph, that if he had any portion of understanding in such matters, he 
would tell him what this vision foretold. Who bid him be of good cheer, and 
expect to be loosed from his bonds in three days' time, because the king desired 
his service, and was about to restore him to it again; for he let him know that 
God bestows the fruit of the vine upon men for good; which wine is poured out 
to him, and is the pledge of fidelity and mutual confidence among men; and 
puts an end to their quarrels, takes away passion and grief out of the minds of 
them that use it, and makes them cheerful. "Thou sayest that thou didst squeeze 
this wine from three clusters of grapes with thine hands, and that the king 
received it: know, therefore, that this vision is for thy good, and foretells a 
release from thy present distress within the same number of days as the 
branches had whence thou gatheredst thy grapes in thy sleep. However, 
remember what prosperity I have foretold thee when thou hast found it true by 
experience; and when thou art in authority, do not overlook us in this prison, 
wherein thou wilt leave us when thou art gone to the place we have foretold; 
for we are not in prison for any crime; but for the sake of our virtue and 
sobriety are we condemned to suffer the penalty of malefactors, and because we 
are not willing to injure him that has thus distressed us, though it were for our 
own pleasure." The cupbearer, therefore, as was natural to do, rejoiced to hear 



such an interpretation of his dream, and waited the completion of what had 
been thus shown him beforehand. 

3. But another servant there was of the king, who had been chief baker, and 
was now bound in prison with the cupbearer; he also was in good hope, upon 
Joseph's interpretation of the other's vision, for he had seen a dream also; so he 
desired that Joseph would tell him what the visions he had seen the night before 
might mean. They were these that follow: — "Methought," says he, "I carried 
three baskets upon my head; two were full of loaves, and the third full of 
sweetmeats and other eatables, such as are prepared for kings; but that the 
fowls came flying, and eat them all up, and had no regard to my attempt to 
drive them away." And he expected a prediction like to that of the cupbearer. 
But Joseph, considering and reasoning about the dream, said to him, that he 
would willingly be an interpreter of good events to him, and not of such as his 
dream denounced to him; but he told him that he had only three days in all to 
live, for that the [three] baskets signify, that on the third day he should be 
crucified, and devoured by fowls, while he was not able to help himself. Now 
both these dreams had the same several events that Joseph foretold they should 
have, and this to both the parties; for on the third day before mentioned, when 
the king solemnized his birthday, he crucified the chief baker, but set the butler 
free from his bonds, and restored him to his former ministration. 

4. But God freed Joseph from his confinement, after he had endured his 
bonds two years, and had received no assistance from the cupbearer, who did 
not remember what he had said to him formerly; and God contrived this 
method of deliverance for him. Pharaoh the king had seen in his sleep the same 
evening two visions; and after them had the interpretations of them both given 
him. He had forgotten the latter, but retained the dreams themselves. Being 
therefore troubled at what he had seen, for it seemed to him to be all of a 
melancholy nature, the next day he called together the wisest men among the 
Egyptians, desiring to learn from them the interpretation of his dreams. But 
when they hesitated about them, the king was so much the more disturbed. And 
now it was that the memory of Joseph, and his skill in dreams, came into the 
mind of the king's cupbearer, when he saw the confusion that Pharaoh was in; 
so he came and mentioned Joseph to him, as also the vision he had seen in 
prison, and how the event proved as he had said; as also that the chief baker 
was crucified on the very same day; and that this also happened to him 
according to the interpretation of Joseph. That Joseph himself was laid in bonds 
by Potiphar, who was his head cook, as a slave; but, he said, he was one of the 
noblest of the stock of the Hebrews; and said further, his father lived in great 
splendor. "If, therefore, thou wilt send for him, and not despise him on the 
score of his misfortunes, thou wilt learn what thy dreams signify." So the king 
commanded that they should bring Joseph into his presence; and those who 



received the command came and brought him with them, having taken care of 
his habit, that it might be decent, as the king had enjoined them to do. 

5. But the king took him by the hand; and, "O young man," says he, "for my 
servant bears witness that thou art at present the best and most skilful person I 
can consult with; vouchsafe me the same favors which thou bestowedst on this 
servant of mine, and tell me what events they are which the visions of my 
dreams foreshow; and I desire thee to suppress nothing out of fear, nor to flatter 
me with lying words, or with what may please me, although the truth should be 
of a melancholy nature. For it seemed to me that, as I walked by the river, I saw 
kine fat and very large, seven in number, going from the river to the marshes; 
and other kine of the same number like them, met them out of the marshes, 
exceeding lean and ill-favored, which ate up the fat and the large kine, and yet 
were no better than before, and not less miserably pinched with famine. After I 
had seen this vision, I awaked out of my sleep; and being in disorder, and 
considering with myself what this appearance should be, I fell asleep again, and 
saw another dream, much more wonderful than the foregoing, which still did 
more affright and disturb me: — I saw seven ears of corn growing out of one 
root, having their heads borne down by the weight of the grains, and bending 
down with the fruit, which was now ripe and fit for reaping; and near these I 
saw seven other ears of corn, meager and weak, for want of rain, which fell to 
eating and consuming those that were fit for reaping, and put me into great 
astonishment." 

6. To which Joseph replied: — "This dream," said he, "O king, although seen 
under two forms, signifies one and the same event of things; for when thou 
sawest the fat kine, which is an animal made for the plough and for labor, 
devoured by the worser kine, and the ears of corn eaten up by the smaller ears, 
they foretell a famine, and want of the fruits of the earth for the same number 
of years, and equal with those when Egypt was in a happy state; and this so far, 
that the plenty of these years will be spent in the same number of years of 
scarcity, and that scarcity of necessary provisions will be very difficult to be 
corrected; as a sign whereof, the ill-favored kine, when they had devoured the 
better sort, could not be satisfied. But still God foreshows what is to come upon 
men, not to grieve them, but that, when they know it beforehand, they may by 
prudence make the actual experience of what is foretold the more tolerable. If 
thou, therefore, carefully dispose of the plentiful crops which will come in the 
former years, thou wilt procure that the future calamity will not be felt by the 
Egyptians." 

7. Hereupon the king wondered at the discretion and wisdom of Joseph; and 
asked him by what means he might so dispense the foregoing plentiful crops in 
the happy years, as to make the miserable crops more tolerable. Joseph then 
added this his advice: To spare the good crops, and not permit the Egyptians to 



spend them luxuriously, but to reserve what they would have spent in luxury 
beyond their necessity against the time of want. He also exhorted him to take 
the corn of the husbandmen, and give them only so much as will be sufficient 
for their food. Accordingly Pharaoh being surprised at Joseph, not only for his 
interpretation of the dream, but for the counsel he had given him, intrusted him 
with dispensing the corn; with power to do what he thought would be for the 
benefit of the people of Egypt, and for the benefit of the king, as believing that 
he who first discovered this method of acting, would prove the best overseer of 
it. But Joseph having this power given him by the king, with leave to make use 
of his seal, and to wear purple, drove in his chariot through all the land of 
Egypt, and took the corn of the husbandmen, 3 allotting as much to every one as 
would be sufficient for seed, and for food, but without discovering to any one 
the reason why he did so. 

CHAPTER 6 

HOW JOSEPH WHEN HE WAS BECOME FAMOUS IN EGYPT, HAD HIS 
BRETHREN IN SUBJECTION 

1. Joseph was now grown up to thirty years of age, and enjoyed great honors 
from the king, who called him Psothom Phanech, out of regard to his 
prodigious degree of wisdom; for that name denotes the revealer of secrets. He 
also married a wife of very high quality; for he married the daughter of 
Petephres, 4 one of the priests of Heliopolis; she was a virgin, and her name was 
Asenath. By her he had children before the scarcity came on; Manasseh, the 
elder, which signifies forgetful, because his present happiness made him forget 
his former misfortunes; and Ephraim, the younger, which signifies restored, 
because he was restored to the freedom of his forefathers. Now after Egypt had 
happily passed over seven years, according to Joseph's interpretation of the 
dreams, the famine came upon them in the eighth year; and because this 
misfortune fell upon them when they had no sense of it beforehand, 5 they were 
all sorely afflicted by it, and came running to the king's gates; and he called 
upon Joseph, who sold the corn to them, being become confessedly a savior to 
the whole multitude of the Egyptians. Nor did he open this market of corn for 
the people of that country only, but strangers had liberty to buy also; Joseph 
being willing that all men, who are naturally akin to one another, should have 
assistance from those that lived in happiness. 

2. Now Jacob also, when he understood that foreigners might come, sent all 
his sons into Egypt to buy corn, for the land of Canaan was grievously afflicted 
with the famine; and this great misery touched the whole continent. He only 
retained Benjamin, who was born to him by Rachel, and was of the same 
mother with Joseph. These sons of Jacob then came into Egypt, and applied 



themselves to Joseph, wanting to buy corn; for nothing of this kind was done 
without his approbation, since even then only was the honor that was paid the 
king himself advantageous to the persons that paid it, when they took care to 
honor Joseph also. Now when he well knew his brethren, they thought nothing 
of him; for he was but a youth when he left them, and was now come to an age 
so much greater, that the lineaments of his face were changed, and he was not 
known by them: besides this, the greatness of the dignity wherein he appeared, 
suffered them not so much as to suspect it was he. He now made trial what 
sentiments they had about affairs of the greatest consequence; for he refused to 
sell them corn, and said they were come as spies of the king's affairs; and that 
they came from several countries, and joined themselves together, and 
pretended that they were of kin, it not being possible that a private man should 
breed up so many sons, and those of so great beauty of countenance as they 
were, such an education of so many children being not easily obtained by kings 
themselves. Now this he did in order to discover what concerned his father, and 
what happened to him after his own departure from him, and as desiring to 
know what was become of Benjamin his brother; for he was afraid that they 
had ventured on the like wicked enterprise against him that they had done to 
himself, and had taken him off also. 

3. Now these brethren of his were under distraction and terror, and thought 
that very great danger hung over them; yet not at all reflecting upon their 
brother Joseph, and standing firm under the accusations laid against them, they 
made their defence by Reubel, the eldest of them, who now became their 
spokesman: "We come not hither," said he, "with any unjust design, nor in 
order to bring any harm to the king's affairs; we only want to be preserved, as 
supposing your humanity might be a refuge for us from the miseries which our 
country labors under, we having heard that you proposed to sell corn, not only 
to your own countrymen, but to strangers also, and that you determined to 
allow that corn, in order to preserve all that want it; but that we are brethren, 
and of the same common blood, the peculiar lineaments of our faces, and those 
not so much different from one another, plainly show. Our father's name is 
Jacob, an Hebrew man, who had twelve of us for his sons by four wives; which 
twelve of us, while we were all alive, were a happy family; but when one of our 
brethren, whose name was Joseph, died, our affairs changed for the worse, for 
our father could not forbear to make a long lamentation for him; and we are in 
affliction, both by the calamity of the death of our brother, and the miserable 
state of our aged father. We are now, therefore, come to buy corn, having 
intrusted the care of our father, and the provision for our family, to Benjamin, 
our youngest brother; and if thou sendest to our house, thou mayst learn 
whether we are guilty of the least falsehood in what we say." 

4. And thus did Reubel endeavor to persuade Joseph to have a better 



opinion of them. But when he had learned from them that Jacob was alive, and 
that his brother was not destroyed by them, he for the present put them in 
prison, as intending to examine more into their affairs when he should be at 
leisure. But on the third day he brought them out, and said to them, "Since you 
constantly affirm that you are not come to do any harm to the king's affairs; that 
you are brethren, and the sons of the father whom you named; you will satisfy 
me of the truth of what you say, if you leave one of your company with me, 
who shall suffer no injury here; and if, when ye have carried corn to your 
father, you will come to me again, and bring your brother, whom you say you 
left there, along with you, for this shall be by me esteemed an assurance of the 
truth of what you have told me." Hereupon they were in greater grief than 
before; they wept, and perpetually deplored one among another the calamity of 
Joseph; and said, "They were fallen into this misery as a punishment inflicted 
by God for what evil contrivances they had against him." And Reubel was large 
in his reproaches of them for their too late repentance, whence no profit arose 
to Joseph; and earnestly exhorted them to bear with patience whatever they 
suffered, since it was done by God in way of punishment, on his account. Thus 
they spake to one another, not imagining that Joseph understood their language. 
A general sadness also seized on them at Reubel's words, and a repentance for 
what they had done; and they condemned the wickedness they had perpetrated, 
for which they judged they were justly punished by God. Now when Joseph 
saw that they were in this distress, he was so affected at it that he fell into tears, 
and not being willing that they should take notice of him, he retired; and after a 
while came to them again, and taking Symeon, 6 in order to his being a pledge 
for his brethren's return, he bid them take the corn they had bought, and go their 
way. He also commanded his steward privily to put the money which they had 
brought with them for the purchase of corn into their sacks, and to dismiss them 
therewith; who did what he was commanded to do. 

5. Now when Jacob's sons were come into the land of Canaan, they told 
their father what had happened to them in Egypt, and that they were taken to 
have come thither as spies upon the king; and how they said they were 
brethren, and had left their eleventh brother with their father, but were not 
believed; and how they had left Symeon with the governor, until Benjamin 
should go thither, and be a testimonial of the truth of what they had said: and 
they begged of their father to fear nothing, but to send the lad along with them. 
But Jacob was not pleased with any thing his sons had done; and he took the 
detention of Symeon heinously, and thence thought it a foolish thing to give up 
Benjamin also. Neither did he yield to Reubel's persuasion, though he begged it 
of him, and gave leave that the grandfather might, in way of requital, kill his 
own sons, in case any harm came to Benjamin in the journey. So they were 
distressed, and knew not what to do; nay, there was another accident that still 



disturbed them more, — the money that was found hidden in their sacks of corn. 
Yet when the corn they had brought failed them, and when the famine still 
afflicted them, and necessity forced them, Jacob did 7 [not] still resolve to send 
Benjamin with his brethren, although there was no returning into Egypt unless 
they came with what they had promised. Now the misery growing every day 
worse, and his sons begging it of him, he had no other course to take in his 
present circumstances. And Judas, who was of a bold temper on other 
occasions, spake his mind very freely to him: "That it did not become him to be 
afraid on account of his son, nor to suspect the worst, as he did; for nothing 
could be done to his son but by the appointment of God, which must also for 
certain come to pass, though he were at home with him; that he ought not to 
condemn them to such manifest destruction; nor deprive them of that plenty of 
food they might have from Pharaoh, by his unreasonable fear about his son 
Benjamin, but ought to take care of the preservation of Symeon, lest, by 
attempting to hinder Benjamin's journey, Symeon should perish. He exhorted 
him to trust God for him; and said he would either bring his son back to him 
safe, or, together with his, lose his own life." So that Jacob was at length 
persuaded, and delivered Benjamin to them, with the price of the corn doubled; 
he also sent presents to Joseph of the fruits of the land of Canaan, balsam and 
rosin, as also turpentine and honey 8 Now their father shed many tears at the 
departure of his sons, as well as themselves. His concern was, that he might 
receive them back again safe after their journey; and their concern was, that 
they might find their father well, and no way afflicted with grief for them. And 
this lamentation lasted a whole day; so that the old man was at last tired with 
grief, and staid behind; but they went on their way for Egypt, endeavoring to 
mitigate their grief for their present misfortunes, with the hopes of better 
success hereafter. 

6. As soon as they came into Egypt, they were brought down to Joseph: but 
here no small fear disturbed them, lest they should be accused about the price 
of the corn, as if they had cheated Joseph. They then made a long apology to 
Joseph's steward; and told him, that when they came home they found the 
money in their sacks, and that they had now brought it along with them. He 
said he did not know what they meant: so they were delivered from that fear. 
And when he had loosed Symeon, and put him into a handsome habit, he 
suffered him to be with his brethren; at which time Joseph came from his 
attendance on the king. So they offered him their presents; and upon his putting 
the question to them about their father, they answered that they found him well. 
He also, upon his discovery that Benjamin was alive, asked whether this was 
their younger brother; for he had seen him. Whereupon they said he was: he 
replied, that the God over all was his protector. But when his affection to him 
made him shed tears, he retired, desiring he might not be seen in that plight by 



his brethren. Then Joseph took them to supper, and they were set down in the 
same order as they used to sit at their father's table. And although Joseph 
treated them all kindly, yet did he send a mess to Benjamin that was double to 
what the rest of the guests had for their shares. 

7. Now when after supper they had composed themselves to sleep, Joseph 
commanded his steward both to give them their measures of corn, and to hide 
its price again in their sacks; and that withal they should put into Benjamin's 
sack the golden cup, out of which he loved himself to drink: — which things he 
did, in order to make trial of his brethren, whether they would stand by 
Benjamin when he should be accused of having stolen the cup, and should 
appear to be in danger; or whether they would leave him, and, depending on 
their own innocency, go to their father without him. When the servant had done 
as he was bidden, the sons of Jacob, knowing nothing of all this, went their 
way, and took Symeon along with them, and had a double cause of joy, both 
because they had received him again, and because they took back Benjamin to 
their father, as they had promised. But presently a troop of horsemen 
encompassed them, and brought with them Joseph's servant, who had put the 
cup into Benjamin's sack. Upon which unexpected attack of the horsemen they 
were much disturbed, and asked what the reason was that they came thus upon 
men, who a little before had been by their lord thought worthy of an honorable 
and hospitable reception? They replied, by calling them wicked wretches, who 
had forgot that very hospitable and kind treatment which Joseph had given 
them, and did not scruple to be injurious to him, and to carry off that cup out of 
which he had, in so friendly a manner, drank to them, and not regarding their 
friendship with Joseph, no more than the danger they should be in if they were 
taken, in comparison of the unjust gain. Hereupon he threatened that they 
should be punished; for though they had escaped the knowledge of him who 
was but a servant, yet had they not escaped the knowledge of God, nor had 
gone off with what they had stolen; and, after all, asked why we come upon 
them, as if they knew nothing of the matter: and he told them that they should 
immediately know it by their punishment. This, and more of the same nature, 
did the servant say, in way of reproach to them: but they being wholly ignorant 
of any thing here that concerned them, laughed at what he said, and wondered 
at the abusive language which the servant gave them, when he was so hardy as 
to accuse those who did not before so much as retain the price of their corn, 
which was found in their sacks, but brought it again, though nobody else knew 
of any such thing, — so far were they from offering any injury to Joseph 
voluntarily. But still, supposing that a search would be a more sure justification 
of themselves than their own denial of the fact, they bid him search them, and 
that if any of them had been guilty of the theft, to punish them all; for being no 
way conscious to themselves of any crime, they spake with assurance, and, as 



they thought, without any danger to themselves also. The servants desired there 
might be a search made; but they said the punishment should extend to him 
alone who should be found guilty of the theft. So they made the search; and, 
having searched all the rest, they came last of all to Benjamin, as knowing it 
was Benjamin's sack in which they had hidden the cup, they having indeed 
searched the rest only for a show of accuracy: so the rest were out of fear for 
themselves, and were now only concerned about Benjamin, but still were well 
assured that he would also be found innocent; and they reproached those that 
came after them for their hindering them, while they might, in the mean while, 
have gotten a good way on their journey. But as soon as they had searched 
Benjamin's sack, they found the cup, and took it from him; and all was changed 
into mourning and lamentation. They rent their garments, and wept for the 
punishment which their brother was to undergo for his theft, and for the 
delusion they had put on their father, when they promised they would bring 
Benjamin safe to him. What added to their misery was, that this melancholy 
accident came unfortunately at a time when they thought they had been gotten 
off clear; but they confessed that this misfortune of their brother, as well as the 
grief of their father for him, was owing to themselves, since it was they that 
forced their father to send him with them, when he was averse to it. 

8. The horsemen therefore took Benjamin and brought him to Joseph, his 
brethren also following him; who, when he saw him in custody, and them in the 
habit of mourners, said, "How came you, vile wretches as you are, to have such 
a strange notion of my kindness to you, and of God's providence, as impudently 
to do thus to your benefactor, who in such an hospitable manner had 
entertained you?" Whereupon they gave up themselves to be punished, in order 
to save Benjamin; and called to mind what a wicked enterprise they had been 
guilty of against Joseph. They also pronounced him more happy than 
themselves, if he were dead, in being freed from the miseries of this life; and if 
he were alive, that he enjoyed the pleasure of seeing God's vengeance upon 
them. They said further; that they were the plague of their father, since they 
should now add to his former affliction for Joseph, this other affliction for 
Benjamin. Reubel also was large in cutting them upon this occasion. But 
Joseph dismissed them; for he said they had been guilty of no offense, and that 
he would content himself with the lad's punishment; for he said it was not a fit 
thing to let him go free, for the sake of those who had not offended; nor was it a 
fit thing to punish them together with him who had been guilty of stealing. And 
when he promised to give them leave to go away in safety, the rest of them 
were under great consternation, and were able to say nothing on this sad 
occasion. But Judas, who had persuaded their father to send the lad from him, 
being otherwise also a very bold and active man, determined to hazard himself 
for the preservation of his brother. 9 "It is true," said he, "O governor, that we 



have been very wicked with regard to thee, and on that account deserved 
punishment; even all of us may justly be punished, although the theft were not 
committed by all, but only by one of us, and he the youngest also; but yet there 
remains some hope for us, who otherwise must be under despair on his account, 
and this from thy goodness, which promises us a deliverance out of our present 
danger. And now I beg thou wilt not look at us, or at that great crime we have 
been guilty of, but at thy own excellent nature, and take advice of thine own 
virtue, instead of that wrath thou hast against us; which passion those that 
otherwise are of lower character indulge, as they do their strength, and that not 
only on great, but also on very trifling occasions. Overcome, sir, that passion, 
and be not subdued by it, nor suffer it to slay those that do not otherwise 
presume upon their own safety, but are desirous to accept of it from thee; for 
this is not the first time that thou wilt bestow it on us, but before, when we 
came to buy corn, thou affordedst us great plenty of food, and gavest us leave 
to carry so much home to our family as has preserved them from perishing by 
famine. Nor is there any difference between not overlooking men that were 
perishing for want of necessaries, and not punishing those that seem to be 
offenders, and have been so unfortunate as to lose the advantage of that 
glorious benefaction which they received from thee. This will be an instance of 
equal favor, though bestowed after a different manner; for thou wilt save those 
this way whom thou didst feed the other; and thou wilt hereby preserve alive, 
by thy own bounty, those souls which thou didst not suffer to be distressed by 
famine, it being indeed at once a wonderful and a great thing to sustain our 
lives by corn, and to bestow on us that pardon, whereby, now we are distressed, 
we may continue those lives. And I am ready to suppose that God is willing to 
afford thee this opportunity of showing thy virtuous disposition, by bringing us 
into this calamity, that it may appear thou canst forgive the injuries that are 
done to thyself, and mayst be esteemed kind to others, besides those who, on 
other accounts, stand in need of thy assistance; since it is indeed a right thing to 
do well to those who are in distress for want of food, but still a more glorious 
thing to save those who deserve to be punished, when it is on account of 
heinous offenses against thyself; for if it be a thing deserving commendation to 
forgive such as have been guilty of small offenses, that tend to a person's loss, 
and this be praiseworthy in him that overlooks such offenses, to restrain a man's 
passion as to crimes which are capital to the guilty, is to be like the most 
excellent nature of God himself. And truly, as for myself, had it not been that 
we had a father, who had discovered, on occasion of the death of Joseph, how 
miserably he is always afflicted at the loss of his sons, I had not made any 
words on account of the saving of our own lives; I mean, any further than as 
that would be an excellent character for thyself, to preserve even those that 
would have nobody to lament them when they were dead, but we would have 



yielded ourselves up to suffer whatsoever thou pleasedst; but now (for we do 
not plead for mercy to ourselves, though indeed, if we die, it will be while we 
are young, and before we have had the enjoyment of life) have regard to our 
father, and take pity of his old age, on whose account it is that we make these 
supplications to thee. We beg thou wilt give us those lives which this 
wickedness of ours has rendered obnoxious to thy punishment; and this for his 
sake who is not himself wicked, nor does his being our father make us wicked. 
He is a good man, and not worthy to have such trials of his patience; and now, 
we are absent, he is afflicted with care for us. But if he hear of our deaths, and 
what was the cause of it, he will on that account die an immature death; and the 
reproachful manner of our ruin will hasten his end, and will directly kill him; 
nay, will bring him to a miserable death, while he will make haste to rid himself 
out of the world, and bring himself to a state of insensibility, before the sad 
story of our end come abroad into the rest of the world. Consider these things in 
this manner, although our wickedness does now provoke thee with a just desire 
of punishing that wickedness, and forgive it for our father's sake; and let thy 
commiseration of him weigh more with thee than our wickedness. Have regard 
to the old age of our father, who, if we perish, will be very lonely while he 
lives, and will soon die himself also. Grant this boon to the name of fathers, for 
thereby thou wilt honor him that begat thee, and will grant it to thyself also, 
who enjoyest already that denomination; thou wilt then, by that denomination, 
be preserved of God, the Father of all, — by showing a pious regard to which, in 
the case of our father, thou wilt appear to honor him who is styled by the same 
name; I mean, if thou wilt have this pity on our father, upon this consideration, 
how miserable he will be if he be deprived of his sons ! It is thy part therefore to 
bestow on us what God has given us, when it is in thy power to take it away, 
and so to resemble him entirely in charity; for it is good to use that power, 
which can either give or take away, on the merciful side; and when it is in thy 
power to destroy, to forget that thou ever hadst that power, and to look on 
thyself as only allowed power for preservation; and that the more any one 
extends this power, the greater reputation does he gain to himself. Now, by 
forgiving our brother what he has unhappily committed, thou wilt preserve us 
all; for we cannot think of living if he be put to death, since we dare not show 
ourselves alive to our father without our brother, but here must we partake of 
one and the same catastrophe of his life. And so far we beg of thee, O governor, 
that if thou condemnest our brother to die, thou wilt punish us together with 
him, as partners of his crime, — for we shall not think it reasonable to be 
reserved to kill ourselves for grief of our brother's death, but so to die rather as 
equally guilty with him of this crime. I will only leave with thee this one 
consideration, and then will say no more, viz., That our brother committed this 
fault when he was young, and not yet of confirmed wisdom in his conduct; and 



that men naturally forgive such young persons. I end here, without adding what 
more I have to say, that in case thou condemnest us, that omission may be 
supposed to have hurt us, and permitted thee to take the severer side. But in 
case thou settest us free, that this may be ascribed to thy own goodness, of 
which thou art inwardly conscious, that thou freest us from condemnation; and 
that not by barely preserving us, but by granting us such a favor as will make us 
appear more righteous than we really are, and by representing to thyself more 
motives for our deliverance than we are able to produce ourselves. If, therefore, 
thou resolvest to slay him, I desire thou wilt slay me in his stead, and send him 
back to his father; or if thou pleasest to retain him with thee as a slave, I am 
fitter to labor for thy advantage in that capacity, and, as thou seest, am better 
prepared for either of those sufferings. 10 So Judas, being very willing to 
undergo any thing whatever for the deliverance of his brother, cast himself 
down at Joseph's feet, and earnestly labored to assuage and pacify his anger. All 
his brethren also fell down before him, weeping and delivering themselves up 
to destruction for the preservation of the life of Benjamin. 

9. But Joseph, as overcome now with his affections, and no longer able to 
personate an angry man, commanded all that were present to depart, that he 
might make himself known to his brethren when they were alone; and when the 
rest were gone out, he made himself known to his brethren; and said, "I 
commend you for your virtue, and your kindness to our brother: I find you 
better men than I could have expected from what you contrived about me. 
Indeed, I did all this to try your love to your brother; so I believe you were not 
wicked by nature in what you did in my case, but that all has happened 
according to God's will, who has hereby procured our enjoyment of what good 
things we have; and, if he continue in a favorable disposition, of what we hope 
for hereafter. Since, therefore, I know that our father is safe and well, beyond 
expectation, and I see you so well disposed to your brother, I will no longer 
remember what guilt you seem to have had about me, but will leave off to hate 
you for that your wickedness; and do rather return you my thanks, that you 
have concurred with the intentions of God to bring things to their present state. 
I would have you also rather to forget the same, since that imprudence of yours 
is come to such a happy conclusion, than to be uneasy and blush at those your 
offenses. Do not, therefore, let your evil intentions, when you condemned me, 
and that bitter remorse which might follow, be a grief to you now, because 
those intentions were frustrated. Go, therefore, your way, rejoicing in what has 
happened by the Divine Providence, and inform your father of it, lest he should 
be spent with cares for you, and deprive me of the most agreeable part of my 
felicity; I mean, lest he should die before he comes into my sight, and enjoys 
the good things that we now have. Bring, therefore, with you our father, and 
your wives and children, and all your kindred, and remove your habitations 



hither; for it is not proper that the persons dearest to me should live remote 
from me, now my affairs are so prosperous, especially when they must endure 
five more years of famine." When Joseph had said this, he embraced his 
brethren, who were in tears and sorrow; but the generous kindness of their 
brother seemed to leave among them no room for fear, lest they should be 
punished on account of what they had consulted and acted against him; and 
they were then feasting. Now the king, as soon as he heard that Joseph's 
brethren were come to him, was exceeding glad of it, as if it had been a part of 
his own good fortune; and gave them wagons full of corn and gold and silver, 
to be conveyed to his father. Now when they had received more of their brother 
part to be carried to their father, and part as free gifts to every one of 
themselves, Benjamin having still more than the rest, they departed. 

CHAPTER 7 

THE REMOVAL OF JOSEPH'S FATHER WITH ALL HIS FAMILY, TO HIM, 
ON ACCOUNT OF THE FAMINE 

1. As soon as Jacob came to know, by his sons returning home, in what state 
Joseph was, that he had not only escaped death, for which yet he lived all along 
in mourning, but that he lived in splendor and happiness, and ruled over Egypt, 
jointly with the king, and had intrusted to his care almost all his affairs, he did 
not think any thing he was told to be incredible, considering the greatness of 
the works of God, and his kindness to him, although that kindness had, for 
some late times, been intermitted; so he immediately and zealously set out upon 
his journey to him. 

2. When he came to the Well of the Oath, (Beersheba,) he offered sacrifice 
to God; and being afraid that the happiness there was in Egypt might tempt his 
posterity to fall in love with it, and settle in it, and no more think of removing 
into the land of Canaan, and possessing it, as God had promised them; as also 
being afraid, lest, if this descent into Egypt were made without the will of God, 
his family might be destroyed there; out of fear, withal, lest he should depart 
this life before he came to the sight of Joseph; he fell asleep, revolving these 
doubts in his mind. 

3. But God stood by him, and called him twice by his name; and when he 
asked who he was, God said, "No, sure; it is not just that thou, Jacob, shouldst 
be unacquainted with that God who has been ever a protector and a helper to 
thy forefathers, and after them to thyself: for when thy father would have 
deprived thee of the dominion, I gave it thee; and by my kindness it was that, 
when thou wast sent into Mesopotamia all alone, thou obtainedst good wives, 
and returnedst with many children, and much wealth. Thy whole family also 
has been preserved by my providence; and it was I who conducted Joseph, thy 



son, whom thou gavest up for lost, to the enjoyment of great prosperity. I also 
made him lord of Egypt, so that he differs but little from a king. Accordingly, I 
come now as a guide to thee in this journey; and foretell to thee, that thou shalt 
die in the arms of Joseph: and I inform thee, that thy posterity shall be many 
ages in authority and glory, and that I will settle them in the land which I have 
promised them." 

4. Jacob, encouraged by this dream, went on more cheerfully for Egypt with 
his sons, and all belonging to them. Now they were in all seventy. I once, 
indeed, thought it best not to set down the names of this family, especially 
because of their difficult pronunciation [by the Greeks]; but, upon the whole, I 
think it necessary to mention those names, that I may disprove such as believe 
that we came not originally from Mesopotamia, but are Egyptians. Now Jacob 
had twelve sons; of these Joseph was come thither before. We will therefore set 
down the names of Jacob's children and grandchildren. Reuben had four sons — 
Anoch, Phallu, Assaron, Charmi. Simeon had six — Jamuel, Jamin, Avod, 
Jachin, Soar, Saul. Levi had three sons — Gersom, Caath, Merari. Judas had 
three sons — Sala, Phares, Zerah; and by Phares two grandchildren, Esrom and 
Amar. Issachar had four sons — Thola, Phua, Jasob, Samaron. Zabulon had with 
him three sons — Sarad, Helon, Jalel. So far is the posterity of Lea; with whom 
went her daughter Dinah. These are thirty-three. Rachel had two sons, the one 
of whom, Joseph, had two sons also, Manas ses and Ephraim. The other, 
Benjamin, had ten sons — Bolau, Bacchar, Asabel, Geras, Naaman, Jes, Ros, 
Momphis, Opphis, Arad. These fourteen added to the thirty-three before 
enumerated, amount to the number forty-seven. And this was the legitimate 
posterity of Jacob. He had besides by Bilhah, the handmaid of Rachel, Dan and 
Nephthali; which last had four sons that followed him — Jesel, Guni, Issari, and 
Sellim. Dan had an only begotten son, Usi. If these be added to those before 
mentioned, they complete the number fifty-four. Gad and Aser were the sons of 
Zilpha, who was the handmaid of Lea. These had with them, Gad seven — 
Saphoniah, Augis, Sunis, Azabon, Aerin, Erocd, Ariel. Aser had a daughter, 
Sarah, and six male children, whose names were Jomne, Isus, Isoui, Baris, Abar 
and Melchiel. If we add these, which are sixteen, to the fifty-four, the 
forementioned number [70] is completed, 11 Jacob not being himself included in 
that number. 

5. When Joseph understood that his father was coming, for Judas his 
brother was come before him, and informed him of his approach, he went out to 
meet him; and they met together at Heliopolis. But Jacob almost fainted away 
at this unexpected and great joy; however, Joseph revived him, being yet not 
himself able to contain from being affected in the same manner, at the pleasure 
he now had; yet was he not wholly overcome with his passion, as his father 
was. After this, he desired Jacob to travel on slowly; but he himself took five of 



his brethren with him, and mad 



We may here observe, that in correspondence to Joseph's second dream, which implied that his mother, who was then alive, as well as his 
father, should come and bow down to him, Josephus represents her here as still alive after she was dead, for the decorum of the dream that 
foretold it, as the interpretation of the dream does also in all our copies, Genesis 37:10. 

2 The Septuagint have twenty pieces of gold; the Testament of Gad thirty; the Hebrew and Samaritan twenty of silver; and the vulgar Latin 
thirty. What was the true number and true sum cannot therefore now be known. 

3 That is, bought it for Pharaoh at a very low price. 

^his Potiphar, or, as Josephus, Petephres, who was now a priest of On, or Heliopolis, is the same name in Josephus, and perhaps in Moses 
also, with him who is before called head cook or captain of the guard, and to whom Joseph was sold. See Genesis 37:36; 39:1, with 41:50. They 
are also affirmed to be one and the same person in the Testament of Joseph, sect. 18, for he is there said to have married the daughter of his 
master and mistress. Nor is this a notion peculiar to that Testament, but, as Dr. Bernard confesses, note on Antiq. B. II. ch. 4. sect. 1, common to 
Josephus, to the Septuagint interpreters, and to other learned Jews of old time. 

5 This entire ignorance of the Egyptians of these years of famine before they came, told us before, as well as here, ch. 5. sect. 7, by Josephus, 
seems to me almost incredible. It is in no other copy that I know of. 

fi The reason why Symeon might be selected out of the rest for Joseph's prisoner, is plain in the Testament of Symeon, viz. that he was one of 
the bitterest of all Joseph's brethren against him, sect. 2; which appears also in part by the Testament of Zabulon, sect. 3. 

The coherence seems to me to show that the negative particle is here wanting, which I have supplied in brackets, and I wonder none have 
hitherto suspected that it ought to be supplied. 

K Of the precious balsam of Judea, and the turpentine, see the note on Antiq. B. VIII. ch. 6. sect. 6. 

y This oration seems to me too large, and too unusual a digression, to have been composed by Judas on this occasion. It seems to me a speech 
or declamation composed formerly, in the person of Judas, and in the way of oratory, that lay by him. and which he thought fit to insert on this 
occasion. See two more such speeches or declamations, Antiq. B. VI. ch. 14. sect. 4. 

10 In all this speech of Judas we may observe, that Josephus still supposed that death was the punishment of theft in Egypt, in the days of 
Joseph, though it never was so among the Jews, by the law of Moses. 

All the Greek copies of Josephus have the negative particle here, that Jacob himself was not reckoned one of the 70 souls that came into 
Egypt; but the old Latin copies want it, and directly assure us he was one of them. It is therefore hardly certain which of these was Josephus's 
true reading, since the number 70 is made up without him, if we reckon Leah for one; but if she be not reckoned, Jacob must himself be one, to 
complete the number. 

12 Josephus thought that the Egyptians hated or despised the employment of a shepherd in the days of Joseph; whereas Bishop Cumberland 
has shown that they rather hated such Phoenician or Canaanite shepherds that had long enslaved the Egyptians of old time. See his 
Sanchoniatho, p. 361, 362. 

Reland here puts the question, how Josephus could complain of its not raining in Egypt during this famine, while the ancients affirm that it 
never does naturally rain there. His answer is, that when the ancients deny that it rains in Egypt, they only mean the Upper Egypt above the 
Delta, which is called Egypt in the strictest sense; but that in the Delta [and by consequence in the Lower Egypt adjoining to it] it did of old, 
and still does, rain sometimes. See the note on Antiq. B. III. ch. 1. sect. 6. 

14 Josephus supposes that Joseph now restored the Egyptians their lands again, upon the payment of a fifth part as tribute. It seems to me 
rather that the land was now considered as Pharaoh's land, and this fifth part as its rent, to be paid to him, as he was their landlord, and they his 
tenants; and that the lands were not properly restored, and this fifth part reserved as tribute only, till the days of Sesostris. See Essay on the Old 
Testament, Append. 148, 149. 

As to this encomium upon Joseph, as preparatory to Jacob's adopting Ephraim and Manasses into his own family, and to be admitted for 
two tribes, which Josephus here mentions, all our copies of Genesis omit it, ch. 48.; nor do we know whence he took it, or whether it be not his 
own embellishment only. 

16 As to the affliction of Abraham's posterity for 400 years, see Antiq. B. I. ch. 10. sect. 3; and as to what cities they built in Egypt, under 
Pharaoh Sesostris. and of Pharaoh Sesostris's drowning in the Red Sea, see Essay on the Old Testament, Append, p. 132-162. 

17 Of this building of the pyramids of Egypt by the Israelites, see Perizonius Orig. Aegyptiac, ch. 21. It is not impossible they might build one 
or more of the small ones; but the larger ones seem much later. Only, if they be all built of stone, this does not so well agree with the Israelites' 
labors, which are said to have been in brick, and not in stone, as Mr. Sandys observes in his Travels, p. 127, 128. 

18 Dr. Bernard informs us here, that instead of this single priest or prophet of the Egyptians, without a name in Josephus, the Targum of 
Jonathan names the two famous antagonists of Moses, Jannes and Jambres. Nor is it at all unlikely that it might be one of these who foreboded 
so much misery to the Egyptians, and so much happiness to the Israelites, from the rearing of Moses. 

19 Josephus is clear that these midwives were Egyptians, and not Israelites, as in our other copies: which is very probable, it being not easily 
to be supposed that Pharaoh could trust the Israelite midwives to execute so barbarous a command against their own nation. (Consult, therefore, 
and correct hence our ordinary copies, Exodus 1:15, 22. And, indeed, Josephus seems to have had much completer copies of the Pentateuch, or 
other authentic records now lost, about the birth and actions of Moses, than either our Hebrew, Samaritan, or Greek Bibles afford us, which 
enabled him to be so large and particular about him. 

20 Of this grandfather of Sesostris, Rameses the Great, who slew the Israelite infants, and of the inscription on his obelisk, containing, in my 
opinion, one of the oldest records of mankind, see Essay on the Old Test. Append, p. 139, 145, 147, 217-220. 

21 What Josephus here says of the beauty of Moses, that he was of a divine form, is very like what St. Stephen says of the same beauty; that 
Moses was beautiful in the sight of God, Acts 7:20. 

This history of Moses, as general of the Egyptians against the Ethiopians, is wholly omitted in our Bibles; but is thus by Irenaeus, from 
Josephus, and that soon after his own age: — "Josephus says, that when Moses was nourished in the palace, he was appointed general of the 
army against the Ethiopians, and conquered them, when he married that king's daughter; because, out of her affection for him, she delivered the 
city up to him." See the Fragments of Irenaeus. ap. edit. Grab. p. 472. Nor perhaps did St. Stephen refer to any thing else when he said of 
Moses, before he was sent by God to the Israelites, that he was not only learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, but was also mighty in 
words and in deeds, Acts 7:22. 

23 Pliny speaks of these birds called ibes; and says, "The Egyptians invoked them against the serpents," Hist. Nat. B. X. ch. 28. Strabo speaks 
of this island Meroe, and these rivers Astapus and Astaboras, B. XVI. p. 771, 786; and B XVII. p. 82]. 

~ This superstitious fear of discovering the name with four letters, which of late we have been used falsely to pronounce Jehovah, but seems 
to have been originally pronounced Jahoh, or Jao, is never, I think, heard of till this passage of Josephus; and this superstition, in not 
pronouncing that name, has continued among the Rabbinical Jews to this day (though whether the Samaritans and Caraites observed it so early, 
does not appear). Josephus also durst not set down the very words of the ten commandments, as we shall see hereafter, Antiq. B. HI. ch. 5. sect. 



4, which superstitious silence I think has yet not been continued even by the Rabbins. It is, however, no doubt but both these cautious 
concealments were taught Josephus by the Pharisees, a body of men at once very wicked and very superstitious. 

25 Of this judicial hardening the hearts and blinding the eyes of wicked men, or infatuating them, as a just punishment for their other willful 
sins, to their own destruction, see the note on Antiq. B. VII. ch. 9. sect. 6. 

~'As to this winter or spring hail near Egypt and Judea, see the like on thunder and lightning there, in the note on Antiq. B. VI. ch. 5. sect. 6. 

~ These large presents made to the Israelites, of vessels of silver and vessels of gold, and raiment, were, as Josephus truly calls them, gifts 
really given them; not lent them, as our English falsely renders them. They were spoils required, not of them, (Genesis 15:14; Exodus 3:22; 
11:2; Psalm 105:37,) as the same version falsely renders the Hebrew word Exodus 12:35, 36. God had ordered the Jews to demand these as 
their pay and reward, during their long and bitter slavery in Egypt, as atonements for the lives of the Egyptians, and as the condition of the 
Jews' departure, and of the Egyptians' deliverance from these terrible judgments, which, had they not now ceased, they had soon been all dead 
men, as they themselves confess, ch. 12. 33. Nor was there any sense in borrowing or lending, when the Israelites were finally departing out of 
the land for ever. 

~ Why our Masorete copy so groundlessly abridges this account in Exodus 1 2:40, as to ascribe 430 years to the sole peregrination of the 
Israelites in Egypt, when it is clear even by that Masorete chronology elsewhere, as well as from the express text itself, in the Samaritan, 
Septuagint, and Josephus, that they sojourned in Egypt but half that time, — and that by consequence, the other half of their peregrination was in 
the land of Canaan, before they came into Egypt, — is hard to say. See Essay on the Old Testament, p. 62, 63. 

29 Take the main part of Reland's excellent note here, which greatly illustrates Josephus, and the Scripture, in this history, as follows: "[A 
traveller, says Reland, whose name was] Eneman, when he returned out of Egypt, told me that he went the same way from Egypt to Mount 
Sinai, which he supposed the Israelites of old traveled; and that he found several mountainous tracts, that ran down towards the Red Sea. He 
thought the Israelites had proceeded as far as the desert of Etham, Exodus 13:20, when they were commanded by God to return back, Exodus 
14:2, and to pitch their camp between Migdol and the sea; and that when they were not able to fly, unless by sea, they were shut in on each side 
by mountains. He also thought we might evidently learn hence, how it might be said that the Israelites were in Etham before they went over the 
sea, and yet might be said to have come into Etham after they had passed over the sea also. Besides, he gave me an account how he passed over 
a river in a boat near the city Suez, which he says must needs be the Heliopolis of the ancients, since that city could not be situate any where 
else in that neighborhood." As to the famous passage produced here by Dr. Bernard, out of Herodotus, as the most ancient heathen testimony of 
the Israelites coming from the Red Sea into Palestine, Bishop Cumberland has shown that it belongs to the old Canaanite or Phoenician 
shepherds, and their retiring out of Egypt into Canaan or Phoenicia, long before the days of Moses. Sanchoniatho, p. 374, &c. 

Of these storms of wind, thunder, and lightning, at this drowning of Pharaoh's army, almost wanting in our copies of Exodus, but fully 
extant in that of David, Psalm 77:16-18, and in that of Josephus here, see Essay on the Old Test. Append, p. 15,1, 155. 

31 What some have here objected against this passage of the Israelites over the Red Sea, in this one night, from the common maps, viz. that 
this sea being here about thirty miles broad, so great an army could not pass over it in so short a time, is a great mistake. Mons. Thevenot, an 
authentic eye-witness, informs us, that this sea, for about five days' journey, is no where more than about eight or nine miles over-cross, and in 
one place but four or five miles, according to De Lisle's map, which is made from the best travelers themselves, and not copied from others. 
What has been further objected against this passage of the Israelites, and drowning of the Egyptians, being miraculous also, viz. that Moses 
might carry the Israelites over at a low tide without any miracle, while yet the Egyptians, not knowing the tide so well as he, might be drowned 
upon the return of the tide, is a strange story indeed ! That Moses, who never had lived here, should know the quantity and time of the flux and 
reflux of the Red Sea better than the Egyptians themselves in its neighborhood ! Yet does Artapanus, an ancient heathen historian, inform us, 
that this was what the more ignorant Memphites, who lived at a great distance, pretended, though he confesses, that the more learned 
Heliopolitans, who lived much nearer, owned the destruction of the Egyptians, and the deliverance of the Israelites, to have been miraculous: 
and De Castro, a mathematician, who surveyed this sea with great exactness, informs us, that there is no great flux or reflux in this part of the 
Red Sea, to give a color to this hypothesis; nay, that at the elevation of the tide there is little above half the height of a man. See Essay on the 
Old Test. Append, p. 239, 240. So vain and groundless are these and the like evasions and subterfuges of our modern sceptics and unbelievers, 
and so certainly do thorough inquiries and authentic evidence disprove and confute such evasions and subterfuges upon all occasions. 

What that hexameter verse, in which Moses's triumphant song is here said to be written, distinctly means, our present ignorance of the old 
Hebrew metre or measure will not let us determine. Nor does it appear to me certain that even Josephus himself had a distinct notion of it, 
though he speaks of several sort of that metre or measure, both here and elsewhere. Antiq. B. IV ch. 8. sect. 44; and B. VII. ch. 12. sect. 3. 

"Take here the original passages of the four old authors that still remain, as to this transit of Alexander the Great over the Pamphylian Sea: I 
mean, of Callisthenes, Strabo, Arrian, and Appian. As to Callisthenes, who himself accompanied Alexander in this expedition, Eustathius, in his 
Notes on the third Iliad of Homer, (as Dr. Bernard here informs us,) says, that "this Callisthenes wrote how the Pamphylian Sea did not only 
open a passage for Alexander, but, by rising and did pay him homage as its king." Strabo's is this (Geog. B. XIV p. 666): "Now about Phaselis 
is that narrow passage, by the sea-side, through which his army. There is a mountain called Climax, adjoins to the Sea of Pamphylia, leaving a 
narrow passage on the shore, which, in calm weather, is bare, so as to be passable by travelers, but when the sea overflows, it is covered to a 
great degree by the waves. Now then, the ascent by the mountains being round about and steep, in still weather they make use of the road along 
the coast. But Alexander fell into the winter season, and committing himself chiefly to fortune, he marched on before the waves retired; and so 
it happened that were a whole day in journeying over it, and were under water up to the navel." Arrian's account is this (B. I. p. 72, 73): 
Alexander removed from Phaselis, he sent some part his army over the mountains to Perga; which road the Thracians showed him. A difficult 
way it was, but short. He himself conducted those that were with him by the sea-shore. This road is impassable at any other time than when the 
north wind blows; but if the south wind prevail, there is no passing by the shore. Now at this time, after strong south winds, a north wind blew, 
and that not without the Divine Providence, (as both he and they that were with him supposed,) and afforded him an easy and quick passage." 
Appian, when he compares Caesar and Alexander together, (De Bel. Civil. B. II. p. 522,) says, "That they both depended on their boldness and 
fortune, as much as on their skill in war. As an instance of which, Alexander journeyed over a country without water, in the heat of summer, to 
the oracle of [Jupiter] Hammon, and quickly passed over the Bay of Pamphylia, when, by Divine Providence, the sea was cut off — thus 
Providence restraining the sea on his account, as it had sent him rain when he traveled [over the desert]." 

BOOK 3 

CONTAINING THE INTERVAL OF TWO YEARS 

FROM THE EXODUS OUT OF EGYPT, TO THE REJECTION OF 



THAT GENERATION 
CHAPTER 1 

HOW MOSES WHEN HE HAD BROUGHT THE PEOPLE OUT OF EGYPT 
LED THEM TO MOUNT SINAI; BUT NOT TILL THEY HAD SUFFERED 
MUCH IN THEIR JOURNEY 



1. When the Hebrews had obtained such a wonderful deliverance, the country 
was a great trouble to them, for it was entirely a desert, and without sustenance 
for them; and also had exceeding little water, so that it not only was not at all 
sufficient for the men, but not enough to feed any of the cattle, for it was 
parched up, and had no moisture that might afford nutriment to the vegetables; 
so they were forced to travel over this country, as having no other country but 
this to travel in. They had indeed carried water along with them from the land 
over which they had traveled before, as their conductor had bidden them; but 
when that was spent, they were obliged to draw water out of wells, with pain, 
by reason of the hardness of the soil. Moreover, what water they found was 
bitter, and not fit for drinking, and this in small quantities also; and as they thus 
traveled, they came late in the evening to a place called Marah, 1 which had that 
name from the badness of its water, for Mar denotes bitterness. Thither they 
came afflicted both by the tediousness of their journey, and by their want of 
food, for it entirely failed them at that time. Now here was a well, which made 
them choose to stay in the place, which, although it were not sufficient to 
satisfy so great an army, did yet afford them some comfort, as found in such 
desert places; for they heard from those who had been to search, that there was 
nothing to be found, if they traveled on farther. Yet was this water bitter, and 
not fit for men to drink; and not only so, but it was intolerable even to the cattle 
themselves. 

2. When Moses saw how much the people were cast down, and that the 
occasion of it could not be contradicted, for the people were not in the nature of 
a complete army of men, who might oppose a manly fortitude to the necessity 
that distressed them; the multitude of the children, and of the women also, 
being of too weak capacities to be persuaded by reason, blunted the courage of 
the men themselves,-he was therefore in great difficulties, and made 
everybody's calamity his own; for they ran all of them to him, and begged of 
him; the women begged for their infants, and the men for the women, that he 
would not overlook them, but procure some way or other for their deliverance. 
He therefore betook himself to prayer to God, that he would change the water 
from its present badness, and make it fit for drinking. And when God had 
granted him that favor, he took the top of a stick that lay down at his feet, and 



divided it in the middle, and made the section lengthways. He then let it down 
into the well, and persuaded the Hebrews that God had hearkened to his 
prayers, and had promised to render the water such as they desired it to be, in 
case they would be subservient to him in what he should enjoin them to do, and 
this not after a remiss or negligent manner. And when they asked what they 
were to do in order to have the water changed for the better, he bid the strongest 
men among them that stood there, to draw up water; 2 and told them, that when 
the greatest part was drawn up, the remainder would be fit to drink. So they 
labored at it till the water was so agitated and purged as to be fit to drink. 

3. And now removing from thence they came to Elim; which place looked 
well at a distance, for there was a grove of palm-trees; but when they came near 
to it, it appeared to be a bad place, for the palm-trees were no more than 
seventy; and they were ill-grown and creeping trees, by the want of water, for 
the country about was all parched, and no moisture sufficient to water them, 
and make them hopeful and useful, was derived to them from the fountains, 
which were in number twelve: they were rather a few moist places than springs, 
which not breaking out of the ground, nor running over, could not sufficiently 
water the trees. And when they dug into the sand, they met with no water; and 
if they took a few drops of it into their hands, they found it to be useless, on 
account of its mud. The trees were too weak to bear fruit, for want of being 
sufficiently cherished and enlivened by the water. So they laid the blame on 
their conductor, and made heavy complaints against him; and said that this their 
miserable state, and the experience they had of adversity, were owing to him; 
for that they had then journeyed an entire thirty days, and had spent all the 
provisions they had brought with them; and meeting with no relief, they were in 
a very desponding condition. And by fixing their attention upon nothing but 
their present misfortunes, they were hindered from remembering what 
deliverances they had received from God, and those by the virtue and wisdom 
of Moses also; so they were very angry at their conductor, and were zealous in 
their attempt to stone him, as the direct occasion of their present miseries. 

4. But as for Moses himself, while the multitude were irritated and bitterly 
set against him, he cheerfully relied upon God, and upon his consciousness of 
the care he had taken of these his own people; and he came into the midst of 
them, even while they clamored against him, and had stones in their hands in 
order to despatch him. Now he was of an agreeable presence, and very able to 
persuade the people by his speeches; accordingly he began to mitigate their 
anger, and exhorted them not to be over-mindful of their present adversities, 
lest they should thereby suffer the benefits that had formerly been bestowed on 
them to slip out of their memories; and he desired them by no means, on 
account of their present uneasiness, to cast those great and wonderful favors 
and gifts, which they had obtained of God, out of their minds, but to expect 



deliverance out of those their present troubles which they could not free 
themselves from, and this by the means of that Divine Providence which 
watched over them. Seeing it is probable that God tries their virtue, and 
exercises their patience by these adversities, that it may appear what fortitude 
they have, and what memory they retain of his former wonderful works in their 
favor, and whether they will not think of them upon occasion of the miseries 
they now feel. He told them, it appeared they were not really good men, either 
in patience, or in remembering what had been successfully done for them, 
sometimes by contemning God and his commands, when by those commands 
they left the land of Egypt; and sometimes by behaving themselves ill towards 
him who was the servant of God, and this when he had never deceived them, 
either in what he said, or had ordered them to do by God's command. He also 
put them in mind of all that had passed; how the Egyptians were destroyed 
when they attempted to detain them, contrary to the command of God; and after 
what manner the very same river was to the others bloody, and not fit for 
drinking, but was to them sweet, and fit for drinking; and how they went a new 
road through the sea, which fled a long way from them, by which very means 
they were themselves preserved, but saw their enemies destroyed; and that 
when they were in want of weapons, God gave them plenty of them;-and so he 
recounted all the particular instances, how when they were, in appearance, just 
going to be destroyed, God had saved them in a surprising manner; and that he 
had still the same power; and that they ought not even now to despair of his 
providence over them; and accordingly he exhorted them to continue quiet, and 
to consider that help would not come too late, though it come not immediately, 
if it be present with them before they suffer any great misfortune; that they 
ought to reason thus: that God delays to assist them, not because he has no 
regard to them, but because he will first try their fortitude, and the pleasure they 
take in their freedom, that he may learn whether you have souls great enough to 
bear want of food, and scarcity of water, on its account; or whether you rather 
love to be slaves, as cattle are slaves to such as own them, and feed them 
liberally, but only in order to make them more useful in their service. That as 
for himself, he shall not be so much concerned for his own preservation; for if 
he die unjustly, he shall not reckon it any affliction, but that he is concerned for 
them, lest, by casting stones at him, they should be thought to condemn God 
himself. 

5. By this means Moses pacified the people, and restrained them from 
stoning him, and brought them to repent of what they were going to do. And 
because he thought the necessity they were under made their passion less 
unjustifiable, he thought he ought to apply himself to God by prayer and 
supplication; and going up to an eminence, he requested of God for some 
succor for the people, and some way of deliverance from the want they were in, 



because in him, and in him alone, was their hope of salvation; and he desired 
that he would forgive what necessity had forced the people to do, since such 
was the nature of mankind, hard to please, and very complaining under 
adversities. Accordingly God promised he would take care of them, and afford 
them the succor they were desirous of. Now when Moses had heard this from 
God, he came down to the multitude. But as soon as they saw him joyful at the 
promises he had received from God, they changed their sad countenances into 
gladness. So he placed himself in the midst of them, and told them he came to 
bring them from God a deliverance from their present distresses. Accordingly a 
little after came a vast number of quails, which is a bird more plentiful in this 
Arabian Gulf than any where else, flying over the sea, and hovered over them, 
till wearied with their laborious flight, and, indeed, as usual, flying very near to 
the earth, they fell down upon the Hebrews, who caught them, and satisfied 
their hunger with them, and supposed that this was the method whereby God 
meant to supply them with food. Upon which Moses returned thanks to God for 
affording them his assistance so suddenly, and sooner than he had promised 
them. 

6. But presently after this first supply of food, he sent them a second; for as 
Moses was lifting up his hands in prayer, a dew fell down; and Moses, when he 
found it stick to his hands, supposed this was also come for food from God to 
them. He tasted it; and perceiving that the people knew not what it was, and 
thought it snowed, and that it was what usually fell at that time of the year, he 
informed them that this dew did not fall from heaven after the manner they 
imagined, but came for their preservation and sustenance. So he tasted it, and 
gave them some of it, that they might be satisfied about what he told them. 
They also imitated their conductor, and were pleased with the food, for it was 
like honey in sweetness and pleasant taste, but like in its body to bdellium, one 
of the sweet spices, and in bigness equal to coriander seed. And very earnest 
they were in gathering it; but they were enjoined to gather it equally; 3 the 
measure of an omer for each one every day, because this food should not come 
in too small a quantity, lest the weaker might not be able to get their share, by 
reason of the overbearing of the strong in collecting it. However, these strong 
men, when they had gathered more than the measure appointed for them, had 
no more than others, but only tired themselves more in gathering it, for they 
found no more than an omer apiece; and the advantage they got by what was 
superfluous was none at all, it corrupting, both by the worms breeding in it, and 
by its bitterness. So divine and wonderful a food was this! It also supplied the 
want of other sorts of food to those that fed on it. And even now, in all that 
place, this manna comes down in rain, 4 according to what Moses then obtained 
of God, to send it to the people for their sustenance. Now the Hebrews call this 
food manna: for the particle man, in our language, is the asking of a question. 



What is this? So the Hebrews were very joyful at what was sent them from 
heaven. Now they made use of this food for forty years, or as long as they were 
in the wilderness. 

7. As soon as they were removed thence, they came to Rephidim, being 
distressed to the last degree by thirst; and while in the foregoing days they had 
lit on a few small fountains, but now found the earth entirely destitute of water, 
they were in an evil case. They again turned their anger against Moses; but he 
at first avoided the fury of the multitude, and then betook himself to prayer to 
God, beseeching him, that as he had given them food when they were in the 
greatest want of it, so he would give them drink, since the favor of giving them 
food was of no value to them while they had nothing to drink. And God did not 
long delay to give it them, but promised Moses that he would procure them a 
fountain, and plenty of water, from a place they did not expect any. So he 
commanded him to smite the rock which they saw lying there, 5 with his rod, 
and out of it to receive plenty of what they wanted; for he had taken care that 
drink should come to them without any labor or pains-taking. When Moses had 
received this command from God, he came to the people, who waited for him, 
and looked upon him, for they saw already that he was coming apace from his 
eminence. As soon as he was come, he told them that God would deliver them 
from their present distress, and had granted them an unexpected favor; and 
informed them, that a river should run for their sakes out of the rock. But they 
were amazed at that hearing, supposing they were of necessity to cut the rock in 
pieces, now they were distressed by their thirst and by their journey; while 
Moses only smiting the rock with his rod, opened a passage, and out of it burst 
water, and that in great abundance, and very clear. But they were astonished at 
this wonderful effect; and, as it were, quenched their thirst by the very sight of 
it. So they drank this pleasant, this sweet water; and such it seemed to be, as 
might well be expected where God was the donor. They were also in admiration 
how Moses was honored by God; and they made grateful returns of sacrifices 
to God for his providence towards them. Now that Scripture, which is laid up in 
the temple, 6 informs us, how God foretold to Moses, that water timid in this 
manner be derived out of the rock. 

CHAPTER 2 

HOW THE AMALEKITES AND THE NEIGHBORING NATIONS, MADE 
WAR WITH THE HEBREWS AND WERE BEATEN AND LOST A GREAT 
PART OF THEIR ARMY 



1. The name of the Hebrews began already to be every where renowned, and 



rumors about them ran abroad. This made the inhabitants of those countries to 
be in no small fear. Accordingly they sent ambassadors to one another, and 
exhorted one another to defend themselves, and to endeavor to destroy these 
men. Those that induced the rest to do so, were such as inhabited Gobolitis and 
Petra. They were called Amalekites, and were the most warlike of the nations 
that lived thereabout; and whose kings exhorted one another, and their 
neighbors, to go to this war against the Hebrews; telling them that an army of 
strangers, and such a one as had run away from slavery under the Egyptians, 
lay in wait to ruin them; which army they were not, in common prudence and 
regard to their own safety, to overlook, but to crush them before they gather 
strength, and come to be in prosperity: and perhaps attack them first in a hostile 
manner, as presuming upon our indolence in not attacking them before; and that 
we ought to avenge ourselves of them for what they have done in the 
wilderness, but that this cannot be so well done when they have once laid their 
hands on our cities and our goods: that those who endeavor to crush a power in 
its first rise, are wiser than those that endeavor to put a stop to its progress 
when it is become formidable; for these last seem to be angry only at the 
flourishing of others, but the former do not leave any room for their enemies to 
become troublesome to them. After they had sent such embassages to the 
neighboring nations, and among one another, they resolved to attack the 
Hebrews in battle. 

2. These proceedings of the people of those countries occasioned perplexity 
and trouble to Moses, who expected no such warlike preparations. And when 
these nations were ready to fight, and the multitude of the Hebrews were 
obliged to try the fortune of war, they were in a mighty disorder, and in want of 
all necessaries, and yet were to make war with men who were thoroughly well 
prepared for it. Then therefore it was that Moses began to encourage them, and 
to exhort them to have a good heart, and rely on God's assistance by which they 
had been advanced into a state of freedom and to hope for victory over those 
who were ready to fight with them, in order to deprive them of that blessing: 
that they were to suppose their own army to be numerous, wanting nothing, 
neither weapons, nor money, nor provisions, nor such other conveniences as, 
when men are in possession of, they fight undauntedly; and that they are to 
judge themselves to have all these advantages in the Divine assistance. They 
are also to suppose the enemy's army to be small, unarmed, weak, and such as 
want those conveniences which they know must be wanted, when it is God's 
will that they shall be beaten; and how valuable God's assistance is, they had 
experienced in abundance of trials; and those such as were more terrible than 
war, for that is only against men; but these were against famine and thirst, 
things indeed that are in their own nature insuperable; as also against 
mountains, and that sea which afforded them no way for escaping; yet had all 



these difficulties been conquered by God's gracious kindness to them. So he 
exhorted them to be courageous at this time, and to look upon their entire 
prosperity to depend on the present conquest of their enemies. 

3. And with these words did Moses encourage the multitude, who then 
called together the princes of their tribes, and their chief men, both separately 
and conjointly. The young men he charged to obey their elders, and the elders 
to hearken to their leader. So the people were elevated in their minds, and ready 
to try their fortune in battle, and hoped to be thereby at length delivered from 
all their miseries: nay, they desired that Moses would immediately lead them 
against their enemies without the least delay, that no backwardness might be a 
hindrance to their present resolution. So Moses sorted all that were fit for war 
into different troops, and set Joshua, the son of Nun, of the tribe of Ephraim, 
over them; one that was of great courage, and patient to undergo labors; of 
great abilities to understand, and to speak what was proper; and very serious in 
the worship of God; and indeed made like another Moses, a teacher of piety 
towards God. He also appointed a small party of the armed men to be near the 
water, and to take care of the children, and the women, and of the entire camp. 
So that whole night they prepared themselves for the battle; they took their 
weapons, if any of them had such as were well made, and attended to their 
commanders as ready to rush forth to the battle as soon as Moses should give 
the word of command. Moses also kept awake, teaching Joshua after what 
manner he should order his camp. But when the day began, Moses called for 
Joshua again, and exhorted him to approve himself in deeds such a one as his 
reputation made men expect from him; and to gain glory by the present 
expedition, in the opinion of those under him, for his exploits in this battle. He 
also gave a particular exhortation to the principal men of the Hebrews, and 
encouraged the whole army as it stood armed before him. And when he had 
thus animated the army, both by his words and works, and prepared every 
thing, he retired to a mountain, and committed the army to God and to Joshua. 

4. So the armies joined battle; and it came to a close fight, hand to hand, 
both sides showing great alacrity, and encouraging one another. And indeed 
while Moses stretched out his hand towards heaven, 7 the Hebrews were too 
hard for the Amalekites: but Moses not being able to sustain his hands thus 
stretched out, (for as often as he let down his hands, so often were his own 
people worsted,) he bade his brother Aaron, and Hur their sister Miriam's 
husband, to stand on each side of him, and take hold of his hands, and not 
permit his weariness to prevent it, but to assist him in the extension of his 
hands. When this was done, the Hebrews conquered the Amalekites by main 
force; and indeed they had all perished, unless the approach of the night had 
obliged the Hebrews to desist from killing any more. So our forefathers 
obtained a most signal and most seasonable victory; for they not only overcame 



those that fought against them, but terrified also the neighboring nations, and 
got great and splendid advantages, which they obtained of their enemies by 
their hard pains in this battle: for when they had taken the enemy's camp, they 
got ready booty for the public, and for their own private families, whereas till 
then they had not any sort of plenty, of even necessary food. The forementioned 
battle, when they had once got it, was also the occasion of their prosperity, not 
only for the present, but for the future ages also; for they not only made slaves 
of the bodies of their enemies, but subdued their minds also, and after this 
battle, became terrible to all that dwelt round about them. Moreover, they 
acquired a vast quantity of riches; for a great deal of silver and gold was left in 
the enemy's camp; as also brazen vessels, which they made common use of in 
their families; many utensils also that were embroidered there were of both 
sorts, that is, of what were weaved, and what were the ornaments of their 
armor, and other things that served for use in the family, and for the furniture of 
their rooms; they got also the prey of their cattle, and of whatsoever uses to 
follow camps, when they remove from one place to another. So the Hebrews 
now valued themselves upon their courage, and claimed great merit for their 
valor; and they perpetually inured themselves to take pains, by which they 
deemed every difficulty might be surmounted. Such were the consequences of 
this battle. 

5. On the next day, Moses stripped the dead bodies of their enemies, and 
gathered together the armor of those that were fled, and gave rewards to such as 
had signalized themselves in the action; and highly commended Joshua, their 
general, who was attested to by all the army, on account of the great actions he 
had done. Nor was any one of the Hebrews slain; but the slain of the enemy's 
army were too many to be enumerated. So Moses offered sacrifices of 
thanksgiving to God, and built an altar, which he named The Lord the 
Conqueror. He also foretold that the Amalekites should utterly be destroyed; 
and that hereafter none of them should remain, because they fought against the 
Hebrews, and this when they were in the wilderness, and in their distress also. 
Moreover, he refreshed the army with feasting. And thus did they fight this first 
battle with those that ventured to oppose them, after they were gone out of 
Egypt. But when Moses had celebrated this festival for the victory, he permitted 
the Hebrews to rest for a few days, and then he brought them out after the fight, 
in order of battle; for they had now many soldiers in light armor. And going 
gradually on, he came to Mount Sinai, in three months' time after they were 
removed out of Egypt; at which mountain, as we have before related, the vision 
of the bush, and the other wonderful appearances, had happened. 

CHAPTER 3 



THAT MOSES KINDLY RECEIVED-HIS FATHER-IN-LAW, JETHRO, 
WHEN HE CAME TO HIM TO MOUNT SINAI 



Now when Raguel, Moses's father-in-law, understood in what a prosperous 
condition his affairs were, he willingly came to meet him. And Moses and his 
children, and pleased himself with his coming. And when he had offered 
sacrifice, he made a feast for the multitude, near the Bush he had formerly seen; 
which multitude, every one according to their families, partook of the feast. But 
Aaron and his family took Raguel, and sung hymns to God, as to Him who had 
been the author procurer of their deliverance and their freedom. They also 
praised their conductor, as him by whose virtue it was that all things had 
succeeded with them. Raguel also, in his eucharistical oration to Moses, made 
great encomiums upon the whole multitude; and he could not but admire Moses 
for his fortitude, and that humanity he had shown in the delivery of his friends. 

CHAPTER 4 

HOW RAGUEL SUGGESTED TO MOSES TO SET HIS PEOPLE IN 
ORDER, UNDER THEIR RULERS OF THOUSANDS, AND RULERS OF 
HUNDREDS, WHO LIVED WITHOUT ORDER BEFORE; AND HOW 
MOSES COMPLIED IN ALL THINGS WITH HIS FATHER-IN-LAWS 
ADMONITION 



1. The next day, as Raguel saw Moses in the of a crowd of business for he 
determined the differences of those that referred them to him, every one still 
going to him, and supposing that they should then only obtain justice, if he 
were the arbitrator; and those that lost their causes thought it no harm, while 
they thought they lost them justly, and not by partiality. Raguel however said 
nothing to him at that time, as not desirous to be any hindrance to such as had a 
mind to make use of the virtue of their conductor. But afterward he took him to 
himself, and when he had him alone, he instructed him in what he ought to do; 
and advised him to leave the trouble of lesser causes to others, but himself to 
take care of the greater, and of the people's safety, for that certain others of the 
Hebrews might be found that were fit to determine causes, but that nobody but 
a Moses could take of the safety of so many ten thousands. "Be therefore," says 
he, "insensible of thine own virtue, and what thou hast done by ministering 
under God to the people's preservation. Permit, therefore, the determination of 
common causes to be done by others, but do thou reserve thyself to the 
attendance on God only, and look out for methods of preserving the multitude 
from their present distress. Make use of the method I suggest to you, as to 



human affairs; and take a review of the army, and appoint chosen rulers over 
tens of thousands, and then over thousands; then divide them into five 
hundreds, and again into hundreds, and into fifties; and set rulers over each of 
them, who may distinguish them into thirties, and keep them in order; and at 
last number them by twenties and by tens: and let there be one commander over 
each number, to be denominated from the number of those over whom they are 
rulers, but such as the whole multitude have tried, and do approve of, as being 
good and righteous men; 8 and let those rulers decide the controversies they 
have one with another. But if any great cause arise, let them bring the 
cognizance of it before the rulers of a higher dignity; but if any great difficulty 
arise that is too hard for even their determination, let them send it to thee. By 
these means two advantages will be gained; the Hebrews will have justice done 
them, and thou wilt be able to attend constantly on God, and procure him to be 
more favorable to the people." 

2. This was the admonition of Raguel; and Moses received his advice very 
kindly, and acted according to his suggestion. Nor did he conceal the invention 
of this method, nor pretend to it himself, but informed the multitude who it was 
that invented it: nay, he has named Raguel in the books he wrote, as the person 
who invented this ordering of the people, as thinking it right to give a true 
testimony to worthy persons, although he might have gotten reputation by 
ascribing to himself the inventions of other men; whence we may learn the 
virtuous disposition of Moses: but of such his disposition, we shall have proper 
occasion to speak in other places of these books. 

CHAPTER 5 

HOW MOSES ASCENDED UP TO MOUNT SINAI, AND RECEIVED 
LAWS FROM GOD, AND DELIVERED THEM TO THE HEBREWS 

1. Now Moses called the multitude together, and told them that he was going 
from them unto mount Sinai to converse with God; to receive from him, and to 
bring back with him, a certain oracle; but he enjoined them to pitch their tents 
near the mountain, and prefer the habitation that was nearest to God, before one 
more remote. When he had said this, he ascended up to Mount Sinai, which is 
the highest of all the mountains that are in that country, 9 and is not only very 
difficult to be ascended by men, on account of its vast altitude, but because of 
the sharpness of its precipices also; nay, indeed, it cannot be looked at without 
pain of the eyes: and besides this, it was terrible and inaccessible, on account of 
the rumor that passed about, that God dwelt there. But the Hebrews removed 
their tents as Moses had bidden them, and took possession of the lowest parts 



of the mountain; and were elevated in their minds, in expectation that Moses 
would return from God with promises of the good things he had proposed to 
them. So they feasted and waited for their conductor, and kept themselves pure 
as in other respects, and not accompanying with their wives for three days, as 
he had before ordered them to do. And they prayed to God that he would 
favorably receive Moses in his conversing with him, and bestow some such gift 
upon them by which they might live well. They also lived more plentifully as to 
their diet; and put on their wives and children more ornamental and decent 
clothing than they usually wore. 

2. So they passed two days in this way of feasting; but on the third day, 
before the sun was up, a cloud spread itself over the whole camp of the 
Hebrews, such a one as none had before seen, and encompassed the place 
where they had pitched their tents; and while all the rest of the air was clear, 
there came strong winds, that raised up large showers of rain, which became a 
mighty tempest. There was also such lightning, as was terrible to those that saw 
it; and thunder, with its thunderbolts, were sent down, and declared God to be 
there present in a gracious way to such as Moses desired he should be gracious. 
Now, as to these matters, every one of my readers may think as he pleases; but I 
am under a necessity of relating this history as it is described in the sacred 
books. This sight, and the amazing sound that came to their ears, disturbed the 
Hebrews to a prodigious degree, for they were not such as they were 
accustomed to; and then the rumor that was spread abroad, how God frequented 
that mountain, greatly astonished their minds, so they sorrowfully contained 
themselves within their tents, as both supposing Moses to be destroyed by the 
Divine wrath, and expecting the like destruction for themselves. 

3. When they were under these apprehensions, Moses appeared as joyful 
and greatly exalted. When they saw him, they were freed from their fear, and 
admitted of more comfortable hopes as to what was to come. The air also was 
become clear and pure of its former disorders, upon the appearance of Moses; 
whereupon he called together the people to a congregation, in order to their 
hearing what God would say to them: and when they were gathered together, he 
stood on an eminence whence they might all hear him, and said, "God has 
received me graciously, O Hebrews, as he has formerly done; and has 
suggested a happy method of living for you, and an order of political 
government, and is now present in the camp: I therefore charge you, for his 
sake and the sake of his works, and what we have done by his means, that you 
do not put a low value on what I am going to say, because the commands have 
been given by me that now deliver them to you, nor because it is the tongue of 
a man that delivers them to you; but if you have a due regard to the great 
importance of the things themselves, you will understand the greatness of Him 
whose institutions they are, and who has not disdained to communicate them to 



me for our common advantage; for it is not to be supposed that the author of 
these institutions is barely Moses, the son of Amram and Jochebed, but He who 
obliged the Nile to run bloody for your sakes, and tamed the haughtiness of the 
Egyptians by various sorts of judgments; he who provided a way through the 
sea for us; he who contrived a method of sending us food from heaven, when 
we were distressed for want of it; he who made the water to issue out of a rock, 
when we had very little of it before; he by whose means Adam was made to 
partake of the fruits both of the land and of the sea; he by whose means Noah 
escaped the deluge; he by whose means our forefather Abraham, of a 
wandering pilgrim, was made the heir of the land of Canaan; he by whose 
means Isaac was born of parents that were very old; he by whose means Jacob 
was adorned with twelve virtuous sons; he by whose means Joseph became a 
potent lord over the Egyptians; he it is who conveys these instructions to you 
by me as his interpreter. And let them be to you venerable, and contended for 
more earnestly by you than your own children and your own wives; for if you 
will follow them, you will lead a happy life you will enjoy the land fruitful, the 
sea calm, and the fruit of the womb born complete, as nature requires; you will 
be also terrible to your enemies for I have been admitted into the presence of 
God and been made a hearer of his incorruptible voice so great is his concern 
for your nation, and its duration." 

4. When he had said this, he brought the people, with their wives and 
children, so near the mountain, that they might hear God himself speaking to 
them about the precepts which they were to practice; that the energy of what 
should be spoken might not be hurt by its utterance by that tongue of a man, 
which could but imperfectly deliver it to their understanding. And they all 
heard a voice that came to all of them from above, insomuch that no one of 
these words escaped them, which Moses wrote on two tables; which it is not 
lawful for us to set down directly, but their import we will declare. 10 

5. The first commandment teaches us that there is but one God, and that we 
ought to worship him only. The second commands us not to make the image of 
any living creature to worship it. The third, that we must not swear by God in a 
false matter. The fourth, that we must keep the seventh day, by resting from all 
sorts of work. The fifth, that we must honor our parents. The sixth that we must 
abstain from murder. The seventh that we must not commit adultery. The 
eighth, that we must not be guilty of theft. The ninth, that we must not bear 
false witness. The tenth, that we must not admit of the desire of any thing that 
is another's. 

6. Now when the multitude had heard God himself giving those precepts 
which Moses had discoursed of, they rejoiced at what was said; and the 
congregation was dissolved: but on the following days they came to his tent, 
and desired him to bring them, besides, other laws from God. Accordingly he 



appointed such laws, and afterwards informed them in what manner they 
should act in all cases; which laws I shall make mention of in their proper time; 
but I shall reserve most of those laws for another work, 11 and make there a 
distinct explication of them. 

7. When matters were brought to this state, Moses went up again to Mount 
Sinai, of which he had told them beforehand. He made his ascent in their sight; 
and while he staid there so long a time, (for he was absent from them forty 
days,) fear seized upon the Hebrews, lest Moses should have come to any 
harm; nor was there any thing else so sad, and that so much troubled them, as 
this supposal that Moses was perished. Now there was a variety in their 
sentiments about it; some saying that he was fallen among wild beasts; and 
those that were of this opinion were chiefly such as were ill-disposed to him; 
but others said that he was departed, and gone to God; but the wiser sort were 
led by their reason to embrace neither of those opinions with any satisfaction, 
thinking, that as it was a thing that sometimes happens to men to fall among 
wild beasts and perish that way, so it was probable enough that he might depart 
and go to God, on account of his virtue; they therefore were quiet, and expected 
the event: yet were they exceeding sorry upon the supposal that they were 
deprived of a governor and a protector, such a one indeed as they could never 
recover again; nor would this suspicion give them leave to expect any 
comfortable event about this man, nor could they prevent their trouble and 
melancholy upon this occasion. However, the camp durst not remove all this 
while, because Moses had bidden them afore to stay there. 

8. But when the forty days, and as many nights, were over, Moses came 
down, having tasted nothing of food usually appointed for the nourishment of 
men. His appearance filled the army with gladness, and he declared to them 
what care God had of them, and by what manner of conduct of their lives they 
might live happily; telling them, that during these days of his absence he had 
suggested to him also that he would have a tabernacle built for him, into which 
he would descend when he came to them, and how we should carry it about 
with us when we remove from this place; and that there would be no longer any 
occasion for going up to Mount Sinai, but that he would himself come and 
pitch his tabernacle amongst us, and be present at our prayers; as also, that the 
tabernacle should be of such measures and construction as he had shown him, 
and that you are to fall to the work, and prosecute it diligently. When he had 
said this, he showed them the two tables, with the ten commandments engraven 
upon them, five upon each table; and the writing was by the hand of God. 

CHAPTER 6 

CONCERNING THE TABERNACLE WHICH MOSES BUILT IN THE 



WILDERNESS FOR THE HONOR OF GOD AND WHICH SEEMED TO BE 
A TEMPLE 



1. Hereupon the Israelites rejoiced at what they had seen and heard of their 
conductor, and were not wanting in diligence according to their ability; for they 
brought silver, and gold, and brass, and of the best sorts of wood, and such as 
would not at all decay by putrefaction; camels' hair also, and sheep-skins, some 
of them dyed of a blue color, and some of a scarlet; some brought the flower for 
the purple color, and others for white, with wool dyed by the flowers 
aforementioned; and fine linen and precious stones, which those that use costly 
ornaments set in ouches of gold; they brought also a great quantity of spices; 
for of these materials did Moses build the tabernacle, which did not at all differ 
from a movable and ambulatory temple. Now when these things were brought 
together with great diligence, (for every one was ambitious to further the work 
even beyond their ability,) he set architects over the works, and this by the 
command of God; and indeed the very same which the people themselves 
would have chosen, had the election been allowed to them. Now their names 
are set down in writing in the sacred books; and they were these: Besaleel, the 
son of Uri, of the tribe of Judah, the grandson of Miriam, the sister of their 
conductor and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. Now the 
people went on with what they had undertaken with so great alacrity, that 
Moses was obliged to restrain them, by making proclamation, that what had 
been brought was sufficient, as the artificers had informed him; so they fell to 
work upon the building of the tabernacle. Moses also informed them, according 
to the direction of God, both what the measures were to be, and its largeness; 
and how many vessels it ought to contain for the use of the sacrifices. The 
women also were ambitious to do their parts, about the garments of the priests, 
and about other things that would be wanted in this work, both for ornament 
and for the divine service itself. 

2. Now when all things were prepared, the gold, and the silver, and the 
brass, and what was woven, Moses, when he had appointed beforehand that 
there should be a festival, and that sacrifices should be offered according to 
every one's ability, reared up the tabernacle; 12 and when he had measured the 
open court, fifty cubits broad and a hundred long, he set up brazen pillars, five 
cubits high, twenty on each of the longer sides, and ten pillars for the breadth 
behind; every one of the pillars also had a ring. Their chapiters were of silver, 
but their bases were of brass: they resembled the sharp ends of spears, and were 
of brass, fixed into the ground. Cords were also put through the rings, and were 
tied at their farther ends to brass nails of a cubit long, which, at every pillar, 
were driven into the floor, and would keep the tabernacle from being shaken by 
the violence of winds; but a curtain of fine soft linen went round all the pillars, 



and hung down in a flowing and loose manner from their chapiters, and 
enclosed the whole space, and seemed not at all unlike to a wall about it. And 
this was the structure of three of the sides of this enclosure; but as for the fourth 
side, which was fifty cubits in extent, and was the front of the whole, twenty 
cubits of it were for the opening of the gates, wherein stood two pillars on each 
side, after the resemblance of open gates. These were made wholly of silver, 
and polished, and that all over, excepting the bases, which were of brass. Now 
on each side of the gates there stood three pillars, which were inserted into the 
concave bases of the gates, and were suited to them; and round them was drawn 
a curtain of fine linen; but to the gates themselves, which were twenty cubits in 
extent, and five in height, the curtain was composed of purple, and scarlet, and 
blue, and fine linen, and embroidered with many and divers sorts of figures, 
excepting the figures of animals. Within these gates was the brazen laver for 
purification, having a basin beneath of the like matter, whence the priests might 
wash their hands and sprinkle their feet; and this was the ornamental 
construction of the enclosure about the court of the tabernacle, which was 
exposed to the open air. 

3. As to the tabernacle itself, Moses placed it in the middle of that court, 
with its front to the east, that, when the sun arose, it might send its first rays 
upon it. Its length, when it was set up, was thirty cubits, and its breadth was 
twelve [ten] cubits. The one of its walls was on the south, and the other was 
exposed to the north, and on the back part of it remained the west. It was 
necessary that its height should be equal to its breadth [ten cubits]. There were 
also pillars made of wood, twenty on each side; they were wrought into a 
quadrangular figure, in breadth a cubit and a half, but the thickness was four 
fingers: they had thin plates of gold affixed to them on both sides, inwardly and 
outwardly: they had each of them two tenons belonging to them, inserted into 
their bases, and these were of silver, in each of which bases there was a socket 
to receive the tenon; but the pillars on the west wall were six. Now all these 
tenons and sockets accurately fitted one another, insomuch that the joints were 
invisible, and both seemed to be one entire and united wall. It was also covered 
with gold, both within and without. The number of pillars was equal on the 
opposite sides, and there were on each part twenty, and every one of them had 
the third part of a span in thickness; so that the number of thirty cubits were 
fully made up between them; but as to the wall behind, where the six pillars 
made up together only nine cubits, they made two other pillars, and cut them 
out of one cubit, which they placed in the corners, and made them equally fine 
with the other. Now every one of the pillars had rings of gold affixed to their 
fronts outward, as if they had taken root in the pillars, and stood one row over 
against another round about, through which were inserted bars gilt over with 
gold, each of them five cubits long, and these bound together the pillars, the 



head of one bar running into another, after the nature of one tenon inserted into 
another; but for the wall behind, there was but one row of bars that went 
through all the pillars, into which row ran the ends of the bars on each side of 
the longer walls; the male with its female being so fastened in their joints, that 
they held the whole firmly together; and for this reason was all this joined so 
fast together, that the tabernacle might not be shaken, either by the winds, or by 
any other means, but that it might preserve itself quiet and immovable 
continually. 

4. As for the inside, Moses parted its length into three partitions. At the 
distance of ten cubits from the most secret end, Moses placed four pillars, the 
workmanship of which was the very same with that of the rest; and they stood 
upon the like bases with them, each a small matter distant from his fellow. Now 
the room within those pillars was the most holy place; but the rest of the room 
was the tabernacle, which was open for the priests. However, this proportion of 
the measures of the tabernacle proved to be an imitation of the system of the 
world; for that third part thereof which was within the four pillars, to which the 
priests were not admitted, is, as it were, a heaven peculiar to God. But the space 
of the twenty cubits, is, as it were, sea and land, on which men live, and so this 
part is peculiar to the priests only. But at the front, where the entrance was 
made, they placed pillars of gold, that stood on bases of brass, in number seven; 
but then they spread over the tabernacle veils of fine linen and purple, and blue, 
and scarlet colors, embroidered. The first veil was ten cubits every way, and 
this they spread over the pillars which parted the temple, and kept the most 
holy place concealed within; and this veil was that which made this part not 
visible to any. Now the whole temple was called The Holy Place: but that part 
which was within the four pillars, and to which none were admitted, was called 
The Holy of Holies. This veil was very ornamental, and embroidered with all 
sorts of flowers which the earth produces; and there were interwoven into it all 
sorts of variety that might be an ornament, excepting the forms of animals. 
Another veil there was which covered the five pillars that were at the entrance. 
It was like the former in its magnitude, and texture, and color; and at the corner 
of every pillar a ring retained it from the top downwards half the depth of the 
pillars, the other half affording an entrance for the priests, who crept under it. 
Over this there was a veil of linen, of the same largeness with the former: it was 
to be drawn this way or that way by cords, the rings of which, fixed to the 
texture of the veil, and to the cords also, were subservient to the drawing and 
undrawing of the veil, and to the fastening it at the corner, that then it might be 
no hindrance to the view of the sanctuary, especially on solemn days; but that 
on other days, and especially when the weather was inclined to snow, it might 
be expanded, and afford a covering to the veil of divers colors. Whence that 
custom of ours is derived, of having a fine linen veil, after the temple has been 



built, to be drawn over the entrances. But the ten other curtains were four cubits 
in breadth, and twenty-eight in length; and had golden clasps, in order to join 
the one curtain to the other, which was done so exactly that they seemed to be 
one entire curtain. These were spread over the temple, and covered all the top 
and parts of the walls, on the sides and behind, so far as within one cubit of the 
ground. There were other curtains of the same breadth with these, but one more 
in number, and longer, for they were thirty cubits long; but these were woven of 
hair, with the like subtilty as those of wool were made, and were extended 
loosely down to the ground, appearing like a triangular front and elevation at 
the gates, the eleventh curtain being used for this very purpose. There were also 
other curtains made of skins above these, which afforded covering and 
protection to those that were woven both in hot weather and when it rained. 
And great was the surprise of those who viewed these curtains at a distance, for 
they seemed not at all to differ from the color of the sky. But those that were 
made of hair and of skins, reached down in the same manner as did the veil at 
the gates, and kept off the heat of the sun, and what injury the rains might do. 
And after this manner was the tabernacle reared. 

5. There was also an ark made, sacred to God, of wood that was naturally 
strong, and could not be corrupted. This was called Eron in our own language. 
Its construction was thus: its length was five spans, but its breadth and height 
was each of them three spans. It was covered all over with gold, both within 
and without, so that the wooden part was not seen. It had also a cover united to 
it, by golden hinges, after a wonderful manner; which cover was every way 
evenly fitted to it, and had no eminences to hinder its exact conjunction. There 
were also two golden rings belonging to each of the longer boards, and passing 
through the entire wood, and through them gilt bars passed along each board, 
that it might thereby be moved and carried about, as occasion should require; 
for it was not drawn in a cart by beasts of burden, but borne on the shoulders of 
the priests. Upon this its cover were two images, which the Hebrews call 
Cherubims; they are flying creatures, but their form is not like to that of any of 
the creatures which men have seen, though Moses said he had seen such beings 
near the throne of God. In this ark he put the two tables whereon the ten 
commandments were written, five upon each table, and two and a half upon 
each side of them; and this ark he placed in the most holy place. 

6. But in the holy place he placed a table, like those at Delphi. Its length 
was two cubits, and its breadth one cubit, and its height three spans. It had feet 
also, the lower half of which were complete feet, resembling those which the 
Dorians put to their bedsteads; but the upper parts towards the table were 
wrought into a square form. The table had a hollow towards every side, having 
a ledge of four fingers' depth, that went round about like a spiral, both on the 
upper and lower part of the body of the work. Upon every one of the feet was 



there also inserted a ring, not far from the cover, through which went bars of 
wood beneath, but gilded, to be taken out upon occasion, there being a cavity 
where it was joined to the rings; for they were not entire rings; but before they 
came quite round they ended in acute points, the one of which was inserted into 
the prominent part of the table, and the other into the foot; and by these it was 
carried when they journeyed: Upon this table, which was placed on the north 
side of the temple, not far from the most holy place, were laid twelve 
unleavened loaves of bread, six upon each heap, one above another: they were 
made of two tenth-deals of the purest flour, which tenth-deal [an omer] is a 
measure of the Hebrews, containing seven Athenian cotyloe; and above those 
loaves were put two vials full of frankincense. Now after seven days other 
loaves were brought in their stead, on the day which is by us called the 
Sabbath; for we call the seventh day the Sabbath. But for the occasion of this 
intention of placing loaves here, we will speak to it in another place. 

7. Over against this table, near the southern wall, was set a candlestick of 
cast gold, hollow within, being of the weight of one hundred pounds, which the 
Hebrews call Chinchares; if it be turned into the Greek language, it denotes a 
talent. It was made with its knops, and lilies, and pomegranates, and bowls 
(which ornaments amounted to seventy in all); by which means the shaft 
elevated itself on high from a single base, and spread itself into as many 
branches as there are planets, including the sun among them. It terminated in 
seven heads, in one row, all standing parallel to one another; and these branches 
carried seven lamps, one by one, in imitation of the number of the planets. 
These lamps looked to the east and to the south, the candlestick being situate 
obliquely. 

8. Now between this candlestick and the table, which, as we said, were 
within the sanctuary, was the altar of incense, made of wood indeed, but of the 
same wood of which the foregoing vessels were made, such as was not liable to 
corruption; it was entirely crusted over with a golden plate. Its breadth on each 
side was a cubit, but the altitude double. Upon it was a grate of gold, that was 
extant above the altar, which had a golden crown encompassing it round about, 
whereto belonged rings and bars, by which the priests carried it when they 
journeyed. Before this tabernacle there was reared a brazen altar, but it was 
within made of wood, five cubits by measure on each side, but its height was 
but three, in like manner adorned with brass plates as bright as gold. It had also 
a brazen hearth of network; for the ground underneath received the fire from 
the hearth, because it had no basis to receive it. Hard by this altar lay the 
basins, and the vials, and the censers, and the caldrons, made of gold; but the 
other vessels, made for the use of the sacrifices, were all of brass. And such was 
the construction of the tabernacle; and these were the vessels thereto belonging. 



CHAPTER 7 

CONCERNING THE GARMENTS OF THE PRIESTS, AND OF THE HIGH 
PRIEST 



1. There were peculiar garments appointed for the priests, and for all the rest, 
which they call Cohanoeoe [priestly] garments, as also for the high priests, 
which they call Cahanoeoe Rabbae, and denote the high priest's garments. Such 
was therefore the habit of the rest. But when the priest approaches the 
sacrifices, he purifies himself with the purification which the law prescribes; 
and, in the first place, he puts on that which is called Machanase, which means 
somewhat that is fast tied. It is a girdle, composed of fine twined linen, and is 
put about the privy parts, the feet being to be inserted into them in the nature of 
breeches, but above half of it is cut off, and it ends at the thighs, and is there 
tied fast. 

2. Over this he wore a linen vestment, made of fine flax doubled: it is called 
Chethone, and denotes linen, for we call linen by the name of Chethone. This 
vestment reaches down to the feet, and sits close to the body; and has sleeves 
that are tied fast to the arms: it is girded to the breast a little above the elbows, 
by a girdle often going round, four fingers broad, but so loosely woven, that 
you would think it were the skin of a serpent. It is embroidered with flowers of 
scarlet, and purple, and blue, and fine twined linen, but the warp was nothing 
but fine linen. The beginning of its circumvolution is at the breast; and when it 
has gone often round, it is there tied, and hangs loosely there down to the 
ankles: I mean this, all the time the priest is not about any laborious service, for 
in this position it appears in the most agreeable manner to the spectators; but 
when he is obliged to assist at the offering sacrifices, and to do the appointed 
service, that he may not be hindered in his operations by its motion, he throws 
it to the left, and bears it on his shoulder. Moses indeed calls this belt Abaneth; 
but we have learned from the Babylonians to call it Emia, for so it is by them 
called. This vestment has no loose or hollow parts any where in it, but only a 
narrow aperture about the neck; and it is tied with certain strings hanging down 
from the edge over the breast and back, and is fastened above each shoulder: it 
is called Massabazanes. 

3. Upon his head he wears a cap, not brought to a conic form nor encircling 
the whole head, but still covering more than the half of it, which is called 
Masnaemphthes; and its make is such that it seems to be a crown, being made 
of thick swathes, but the contexture is of linen; and it is doubled round many 
times, and sewed together; besides which, a piece of fine linen covers the 
whole cap from the upper part, and reaches down to the forehead, and hides the 
seams of the swathes, which would otherwise appear indecently: this adheres 



closely upon the solid part of the head, and is thereto so firmly fixed, that it 
may not fall off during the sacred service about the sacrifices. So we have now 
shown you what is the habit of the generality of the priests. 

4. The high priest is indeed adorned with the same garments that we have 
described, without abating one; only over these he puts on a vestment of a blue 
color. This also is a long robe, reaching to his feet, [in our language it is called 
Meeir,] and is tied round with a girdle, embroidered with the same colors and 
flowers as the former, with a mixture of gold interwoven. To the bottom of 
which garment are hung fringes, in color like pomegranates, with golden 
bells, 13 by a curious and beautiful contrivance; so that between two bells hangs 

a pomegranate, and between two pomegranates a bell. Now this vesture was not 
composed of two pieces, nor was it sewed together upon the shoulders and the 
sides, but it was one long vestment so woven as to have an aperture for the 
neck; not an oblique one, but parted all along the breast and the back. A border 
also was sewed to it, lest the aperture should look too indecently: it was also 
parted where the hands were to come out. 

5. Besides these, the high priest put on a third garment, which was called 
the Ephod, which resembles the Epomis of the Greeks. Its make was after this 
manner: it was woven to the depth of a cubit, of several colors, with gold 
intermixed, and embroidered, but it left the middle of the breast uncovered: it 
was made with sleeves also; nor did it appear to be at all differently made from 
a short coat. But in the void place of this garment there was inserted a piece of 
the bigness of a span, embroidered with gold, and the other colors of the ephod, 
and was called Essen, [the breastplate,] which in the Greek language signifies 
the Oracle. This piece exactly filled up the void space in the ephod. It was 
united to it by golden rings at every corner, the like rings being annexed to the 
ephod, and a blue riband was made use of to tie them together by those rings; 
and that the space between the rings might not appear empty, they contrived to 
fill it up with stitches of blue ribands. There were also two sardonyxes upon the 
ephod, at the shoulders, to fasten it in the nature of buttons, having each end 
running to the sardonyxes of gold, that they might be buttoned by them. On 
these were engraven the names of the sons of Jacob, in our own country letters, 
and in our own tongue, six on each of the stones, on either side; and the elder 
sons' names were on the right shoulder. Twelve stones also there were upon the 
breast-plate, extraordinary in largeness and beauty; and they were an ornament 
not to be purchased by men, because of their immense value. These stones, 
however, stood in three rows, by four in a row, and were inserted into the 
breastplate itself, and they were set in ouches of gold, that were themselves 
inserted in the breastplate, and were so made that they might not fall out low 
the first three stones were a sardonyx, a topaz, and an emerald. The second row 
contained a carbuncle, a jasper, and a sapphire. The first of the third row was a 



ligure, then an amethyst, and the third an agate, being the ninth of the whole 
number. The first of the fourth row was a chrysolite, the next was an onyx, and 
then a beryl, which was the last of all. Now the names of all those sons of Jacob 
were engraven in these stones, whom we esteem the heads of our tribes, each 
stone having the honor of a name, in the order according to which they were 
born. And whereas the rings were too weak of themselves to bear the weight of 
the stones, they made two other rings of a larger size, at the edge of that part of 
the breastplate which reached to the neck, and inserted into the very texture of 
the breastplate, to receive chains finely wrought, which connected them with 
golden bands to the tops of the shoulders, whose extremity turned backwards, 
and went into the ring, on the prominent back part of the ephod; and this was 
for the security of the breastplate, that it might not fall out of its place. There 
was also a girdle sewed to the breastplate, which was of the forementioned 
colors, with gold intermixed, which, when it had gone once round, was tied 
again upon the seam, and hung down. There were also golden loops that 
admitted its fringes at each extremity of the girdle, and included them entirely. 

6. The high priest's mitre was the same that we described before, and was 
wrought like that of all the other priests; above which there was another, with 
swathes of blue embroidered, and round it was a golden crown polished, of 
three rows, one above another; out of which arose a cup of gold, which 
resembled the herb which we call Saccharus; but those Greeks that are skilful 
in botany call it Hyoscyamus. Now, lest any one that has seen this herb, but has 
not been taught its name, and is unacquainted with its nature, or, having known 
its name, knows not the herb when he sees it, I shall give such as these are a 
description of it. This herb is oftentimes in tallness above three spans, but its 
root is like that of a turnip (for he that should compare it thereto would not be 
mistaken); but its leaves are like the leaves of mint. Out of its branches it sends 
out a calyx, cleaving, to the branch; and a coat encompasses it, which it 
naturally puts off when it is changing, in order to produce its fruit. This calyx is 
of the bigness of the bone of the little finger, but in the compass of its aperture 
is like a cup. This I will further describe, for the use of those that are 
unacquainted with it. Suppose a sphere be divided into two parts, round at the 
bottom, but having another segment that grows up to a circumference from that 
bottom; suppose it become narrower by degrees, and that the cavity of that part 
grow decently smaller, and then gradually grow wider again at the brim, such 
as we see in the navel of a pomegranate, with its notches. And indeed such a 
coat grows over this plant as renders it a hemisphere, and that, as one may say, 
turned accurately in a lathe, and having its notches extant above it, which, as I 
said, grow like a pomegranate, only that they are sharp, and end in nothing but 
prickles. Now the fruit is preserved by this coat of the calyx, which fruit is like 
the seed of the herb Sideritis: it sends out a flower that may seem to resemble 



that of poppy. Of this was a crown made, as far from the hinder part of the head 
to each of the temples; but this Ephielis, for so this calyx may be called, did not 
cover the forehead, but it was covered with a golden plate, 14 which had 
inscribed upon it the name of God in sacred characters. And such were the 
ornaments of the high priest. 

7. Now here one may wonder at the ill-will which men bear to us, and 
which they profess to bear on account of our despising that Deity which they 
pretend to honor; for if any one do but consider the fabric of the tabernacle, and 
take a view of the garments of the high priest, and of those vessels which we 
make use of in our sacred ministration, he will find that our legislator was a 
divine man, and that we are unjustly reproached by others; for if any one do 
without prejudice, and with judgment, look upon these things, he will find they 
were every one made in way of imitation and representation of the universe. 
When Moses distinguished the tabernacle into three parts, 15 and allowed two of 
them to the priests, as a place accessible and common, he denoted the land and 
the sea, these being of general access to all; but he set apart the third division 
for God, because heaven is inaccessible to men. And when he ordered twelve 
loaves to be set on the table, he denoted the year, as distinguished into so many 
months. By branching out the candlestick into seventy parts, he secretly 
intimated the Decani, or seventy divisions of the planets; and as to the seven 
lamps upon the candlesticks, they referred to the course of the planets, of which 
that is the number. The veils, too, which were composed of four things, they 
declared the four elements; for the fine linen was proper to signify the earth, 
because the flax grows out of the earth; the purple signified the sea, because 
that color is dyed by the blood of a sea shell-fish; the blue is fit to signify the 
air; and the scarlet will naturally be an indication of fire. Now the vestment of 
the high priest being made of linen, signified the earth; the blue denoted the 
sky, being like lightning in its pomegranates, and in the noise of the bells 
resembling thunder. And for the ephod, it showed that God had made the 
universe of four elements; and as for the gold interwoven, I suppose it related 
to the splendor by which all things are enlightened. He also appointed the 
breastplate to be placed in the middle of the ephod, to resemble the earth, for 
that has the very middle place of the world. And the girdle which encompassed 
the high priest round, signified the ocean, for that goes round about and 
includes the universe. Each of the sardonyxes declares to us the sun and the 
moon; those, I mean, that were in the nature of buttons on the high priest's 
shoulders. And for the twelve stones, whether we understand by them the 
months, or whether we understand the like number of the signs of that circle 
which the Greeks call the Zodiac, we shall not be mistaken in their meaning. 
And for the mitre, which was of a blue color, it seems to me to mean heaven; 
for how otherwise could the name of God be inscribed upon it? That it was also 



illustrated with a crown, and that of gold also, is because of that splendor with 
which God is pleased. Let this explication 16 suffice at present, since the course 
of my narration will often, and on many occasions, afford me the opportunity of 
enlarging upon the virtue of our legislator. 

CHAPTER 8 

OF THE PRIESTHOOD OF AARON 



1. When what has been described was brought to a conclusion, gifts not being 
yet presented, God appeared to Moses, and enjoined him to bestow the high 
priesthood upon Aaron his brother, as upon him that best of them all deserved 
to obtain that honor, on account of his virtue. And when he had gathered the 
multitude together, he gave them an account of Aaron's virtue, and of his good- 
will to them, and of the dangers he had undergone for their sakes. Upon which, 
when they had given testimony to him in all respects, and showed their 
readiness to receive him, Moses said to them, "O you Israelites, this work is 
already brought to a conclusion, in a manner most acceptable to God, and 
according to our abilities. And now since you see that he is received into this 
tabernacle, we shall first of all stand in need of one that may officiate for us, 
and may minister to the sacrifices, and to the prayers that are to be put up for 
us. And indeed had the inquiry after such a person been left to me, I should 
have thought myself worthy of this honor, both because all men are naturally 
fond of themselves, and because I am conscious to myself that I have taken a 
great deal of pains for your deliverance; but now God himself has determined 
that Aaron is worthy of this honor, and has chosen him for his priest, as 
knowing him to be the most righteous person among you. So that he is to put 
on the vestments which are consecrated to God; he is to have the care of the 
altars, and to make provision for the sacrifices; and he it is that must put up 
prayers for you to God, who will readily hear them, not only because he is 
himself solicitous for your nation, but also because he will receive them as 
offered by one that he hath himself chosen to this office. 17 The Hebrews were 
pleased with what was said, and they gave their approbation to him whom God 
had ordained; for Aaron was of them all the most deserving of this honor, on 
account of his own stock and gift of prophecy, and his brother's virtue. He had 
at that time four sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 

2. Now Moses commanded them to make use of all the utensils which were 
more than were necessary to the structure of the tabernacle, for covering the 
tabernacle itself, the candlestick, and altar of incense, and the other vessels, that 
they might not be at all hurt when they journeyed, either by the rain, or by the 



rising of the dust. And when he had gathered the multitude together again, he 
ordained that they should offer half a shekel for every man, as an oblation to 
God; which shekel is a piece among the Hebrews, and is equal to four Athenian 
drachmae. 18 Whereupon they readily obeyed what Moses had commanded; and 
the number of the offerers was six hundred and five thousand five hundred and 
fifty. Now this money that was brought by the men that were free, was given by 
such as were about twenty years old, but under fifty; and what was collected 
was spent in the uses of the tabernacle. 

3. Moses now purified the tabernacle and the priests; which purification 
was performed after the following manner: — He commanded them to take five 
hundred shekels of choice myrrh, an equal quantity of cassia, and half the 
foregoing weight of cinnamon and calamus (this last is a sort of sweet spice); to 
beat them small, and wet them with a hin of oil of olives (a hin is our own 
country measure, and contains two Athenian choas, or congiuses); then mix 
them together, and boil them, and prepare them after the art of the apothecary, 
and make them into a very sweet ointment; and afterward to take it to anoint 
and to purify the priests themselves, and all the tabernacle, as also the 
sacrifices. There were also many, and those of various kinds, of sweet spices, 
that belonged to the tabernacle, and such as were of very great price, and were 
brought to the golden altar of incense; the nature of which I do not now 
describe, lest it should be troublesome to my readers; but incense 19 was to be 
offered twice a-day, both before sun-rising and at sun-setting. They were also to 
keep oil already purified for the lamps; three of which were to give light all day 
long, 20 upon the sacred candlestick, before God, and the rest were to be lighted 
at the evening. 

4. Now all was finished. Besaleel and Aholiab appeared to be the most 
skilful of the workmen; for they invented finer works than what others had 
done before them, and were of great abilities to gain notions of what they were 
formerly ignorant of; and of these, Besaleel was judged to be the best. Now the 
whole time they were about this work was the interval of seven months; and 
after this it was that was ended the first year since their departure out of Egypt. 
But at the beginning of the second year, on the month Xanthicus, as the 
Macedonians call it, but on the month Nisan, as the Hebrews call it, on the new 
moon, they consecrated the tabernacle, and all its vessels, which I have already 
described. 

5. Now God showed himself pleased with the work of the Hebrews, and 
did not permit their labors to be in vain; nor did he disdain to make use of what 
they had made, but he came and sojourned with them, and pitched his 
tabernacle in the holy house. And in the following manner did he come to it: — 
The sky was clear, but there was a mist over the tabernacle only, encompassing 
it, but not with such a very deep and thick cloud as is seen in the winter season, 



nor yet in so thin a one as men might be able to discern any thing through it, 
but from it there dropped a sweet dew, and such a one as showed the presence 
of God to those that desired and believed it. 

6. Now when Moses had bestowed such honorary presents on the workmen, 
as it was fit they should receive, who had wrought so well, he offered sacrifices 
in the open court of the tabernacle, as God commanded him; a bull, a ram, and 
a kid of the goats, for a sin-offering. Now I shall speak of what we do in our 
sacred offices in my discourse about sacrifices; and therein shall inform men in 
what cases Moses bid us offer a whole burnt-offering, and in what cases the law 
permits us to partake of them as of food. And when Moses had sprinkled 
Aaron's vestments, himself, and his sons, with the blood of the beasts that were 
slain, and had purified them with spring waters and ointment, they became 
God's priests. After this manner did he consecrate them and their garments for 
seven days together. The same he did to the tabernacle, and the vessels thereto 
belonging, both with oil first incensed, as I said, and with the blood of bulls and 
of rams, slain day by day one, according to its kind. But on the eighth day he 
appointed a feast for the people, and commanded them to offer sacrifice 
according to their ability. Accordingly they contended one with another, and 
were ambitious to exceed each other in the sacrifices which they brought, and 
so fulfilled Moses's injunctions. But as the sacrifices lay upon the altar, a 
sudden fire was kindled from among them of its own accord, and appeared to 
the sight like fire from a flash of lightning, and consumed whatsoever was upon 
the altar. 

7. Hereupon an affliction befell Aaron, considered as a man and a father, 
but was undergone by him with true fortitude; for he had indeed a firmness of 
soul in such accidents, and he thought this calamity came upon him according 
to God's will: for whereas he had four sons, as I said before, the two elder of 
them, Nadab and Abihu, did not bring those sacrifices which Moses bade them 
bring, but which they used to offer formerly, and were burnt to death. Now 
when the fire rushed upon them, and began to burn them, nobody could quench 
it. Accordingly they died in this manner. And Moses bid their father and their 
brethren to take up their bodies, to carry them out of the camp, and to bury 
them magnificently. Now the multitude lamented them, and were deeply 
affected at this their death, which so unexpectedly befell them. But Moses 
entreated their brethren and their father not to be troubled for them, and to 
prefer the honor of God before their grief about them; for Aaron had already 
put on his sacred garments. 

8. But Moses refused all that honor which he saw the multitude ready to 
bestow upon him, and attended to nothing else but the service of God. He went 
no more up to Mount Sinai; but he went into the tabernacle, and brought back 
answers from God for what he prayed for. His habit was also that of a private 



man, and in all other circumstances he behaved himself like one of the common 
people, and was desirous to appear without distinguishing himself from the 
multitude, but would have it known that he did nothing else but take care of 
them. He also set down in writing the form of their government, and those laws 
by obedience whereto they would lead their lives so as to please God, and so as 
to have no quarrels one among another. However, the laws he ordained were 
such as God suggested to him; so I shall now discourse concerning that form of 
government, and those laws. 

9. I will now treat of what I before omitted, the garment of the high priest: 
for he [Moses] left no room for the evil practices of [false] prophets; but if 
some of that sort should attempt to abuse the Divine authority, he left it to God 
to be present at his sacrifices when he pleased, and when he pleased to be 
absent. 21 And he was willing this should be known, not to the Hebrews only, but 
to those foreigners also who were there. For as to those stones, 22 which we told 
you before, the high priest bare on his shoulders, which were sardonyxes, (and I 
think it needless to describe their nature, they being known to every body,) the 
one of them shined out when God was present at their sacrifices; I mean that 
which was in the nature of a button on his right shoulder, bright rays darting out 
thence, and being seen even by those that were most remote; which splendor 
yet was not before natural to the stone. This has appeared a wonderful thing to 
such as have not so far indulged themselves in philosophy, as to despise Divine 
revelation. Yet will I mention what is still more wonderful than this: for God 
declared beforehand, by those twelve stones which the high priest bare on his 
breast, and which were inserted into his breastplate, when they should be 
victorious in battle; for so great a splendor shone forth from them before the 
army began to march, that all the people were sensible of God's being present 
for their assistance. Whence it came to pass that those Greeks, who had a 
veneration for our laws, because they could not possibly contradict this, called 
that breastplate the Oracle. Now this breastplate, and this sardonyx, left off 
shining two hundred years before I composed this book, God having been 
displeased at the transgressions of his laws. Of which things we shall further 
discourse on a fitter opportunity; but I will now go on with my proposed 
narration. 

10. The tabernacle being now consecrated, and a regular order being settled 
for the priests, the multitude judged that God now dwelt among them, and 
betook themselves to sacrifices and praises to God as being now delivered from 
all expectation of evils and as entertaining a hopeful prospect of better times 
hereafter. They offered also gifts to God some as common to the whole nation, 
and others as peculiar to themselves, and these tribe by tribe; for the heads of 
the tribes combined together, two by two, and brought a waggon and a yoke of 
oxen. These amounted to six, and they carried the tabernacle when they 



journeyed. Besides which, each head of a tribe brought a bowl, and a charger, 
and a spoon, of ten darics, full of incense. Now the charger and the bowl were 
of silver, and together they weighed two hundred shekels, but the bowl cost no 
more than seventy shekels; and these were full of fine flour mingled with oil, 
such as they used on the altar about the sacrifices. They brought also a young 
bullock, and a ram, with a lamb of a year old, for a whole burnt-offering, as 
also a goat for the forgiveness of sins. Every one of the heads of the tribes 
brought also other sacrifices, called peace-offerings, for every day two bulls, 
and five rams, with lambs of a year old, and kids of the goats. These heads of 
tribes were twelve days in sacrificing, one sacrificing every day. Now Moses 
went no longer up to Mount Sinai, but went into the tabernacle, and learned of 
God what they were to do, and what laws should be made; which laws were 
preferable to what have been devised by human understanding, and proved to 
be firmly observed for all time to come, as being believed to be the gift of God, 
insomuch that the Hebrews did not transgress any of those laws, either as 
tempted in times of peace by luxury, or in times of war by distress of affairs. 
But I say no more here concerning them, because I have resolved to compose 
another work concerning our laws. 

CHAPTER 9 

THE MANNER OF OUR OFFERING SACRIFICES 



1. I will now, however, make mention of a few of our laws which belong to 
purifications, and the like sacred offices, since I am accidentally come to this 
matter of sacrifices. These sacrifices were of two sorts; of those sorts one was 
offered for private persons, and the other for the people in general; and they are 
done in two different ways. In the one case, what is slain is burnt, as a whole 
burnt-offering, whence that name is given to it; but the other is a thank- 
offering, and is designed for feasting those that sacrifice. I will speak of the 
former. Suppose a private man offer a burnt-offering, he must slay either a bull, 
a lamb, or a kid of the goats, and the two latter of the first year, though of bulls 
he is permitted to sacrifice those of a greater age; but all burnt-offerings are to 
be of males. When they are slain, the priests sprinkle the blood round about the 
altar; they then cleanse the bodies, and divide them into parts, and salt them 
with salt, and lay them upon the altar, while the pieces of wood are piled one 
upon another, and the fire is burning; they next cleanse the feet of the sacrifices, 
and the inwards, in an accurate manner and so lay them to the rest to be purged 
by the fire, while the priests receive the hides. This is the way of offering a 
burnt-offering. 



2. But those that offer thank-offerings do indeed sacrifice the same 
creatures, but such as are unblemished, and above a year old; however, they 
may take either males or females. They also sprinkle the altar with their blood; 
but they lay upon the altar the kidneys and the caul, and all the fat, and the lobe 
of the liver, together with the rump of the lamb; then, giving the breast and the 
right shoulder to the priests, the offerers feast upon the remainder of the flesh 
for two days; and what remains they burn. 

3. The sacrifices for sins are offered in the same manner as is the thank- 
offering. But those who are unable to purchase complete sacrifices, offer two 
pigeons, or turtle doves; the one of which is made a burnt-offering to God, the 
other they give as food to the priests. But we shall treat more accurately about 
the oblation of these creatures in our discourse concerning sacrifices. But if a 
person fall into sin by ignorance, he offers an ewe lamb, or a female kid of the 
goats, of the same age; and the priests sprinkle the blood at the altar, not after 
the former manner, but at the corners of it. They also bring the kidneys and the 
rest of the fat, together with the lobe of the liver, to the altar, while the priests 
bear away the hides and the flesh, and spend it in the holy place, on the same 
day; 23 for the law does not permit them to leave of it until the morning. But if 
any one sin, and is conscious of it himself, but hath nobody that can prove it 
upon him, he offers a ram, the law enjoining him so to do; the flesh of which 
the priests eat, as before, in the holy place, on the same day. And if the rulers 
offer sacrifices for their sins, they bring the same oblations that private men do; 
only they so far differ, that they are to bring for sacrifices a bull or a kid of the 
goats, both males. 

4. Now the law requires, both in private and public sacrifices, that the finest 
flour be also brought; for a lamb the measure of one tenth deal, — for a ram two, 
— and for a bull three. This they consecrate upon the altar, when it is mingled 
with oil; for oil is also brought by those that sacrifice; for a bull the half of a 
hin, and for a ram the third part of the same measure, and one quarter of it for a 
lamb. This hin is an ancient Hebrew measure, and is equivalent to two Athenian 
choas (or congiuses). They bring the same quantity of oil which they do of 
wine, and they pour the wine about the altar; but if any one does not offer a 
complete sacrifice of animals, but brings fine flour only for a vow, he throws a 
handful upon the altar as its first-fruits, while the priests take the rest for their 
food, either boiled or mingled with oil, but made into cakes of bread. But 
whatsoever it be that a priest himself offers, it must of necessity be all burnt. 
Now the law forbids us to sacrifice any animal at the same time with its dam; 
and, in other cases, not till the eighth day after its birth. Other sacrifices there 
are also appointed for escaping distempers, or for other occasions, in which 
meat-offerings are consumed, together with the animals that are sacrificed; of 
which it is not lawful to leave any part till the next day, only the priests are to 



take their own share. 

CHAPTER 10 

CONCERNING THE FESTIVALS; AND HOW EACH DAY OF SUCH 
FESTIVAL IS TO BE OBSERVED 



1. The law requires, that out of the public expenses a lamb of the first year be 
killed every day, at the beginning and at the ending of the day; but on the 
seventh day, which is called the Sabbath, they kill two, and sacrifice them in 
the same manner. At the new moon, they both perform the daily sacrifices, and 
slay two bulls, with seven lambs of the first year, and a kid of the goats also, for 
the expiation of sins; that is, if they have sinned through ignorance. 

2. But on the seventh month, which the Macedonians call Hyperberetoeus, 
they make an addition to those already mentioned, and sacrifice a bull, a ram, 
and seven lambs, and a kid of the goats, for sins. 

3. On the tenth day of the same lunar month, they fast till the evening; and 
this day they sacrifice a bull, and two rams, and seven lambs, and a kid of the 
goats, for sins. And, besides these, they bring two kids of the goats; the one of 
which is sent alive out of the limits of the camp into the wilderness for the 
scapegoat, and to be an expiation for the sins of the whole multitude; but the 
other is brought into a place of great cleanness, within the limits of the camp, 
and is there burnt, with its skin, without any sort of cleansing. With this goat 
was burnt a bull, not brought by the people, but by the high priest, at his own 
charges; which, when it was slain, he brought of the blood into the holy place, 
together with the blood of the kid of the goats, and sprinkled the ceiling with 
his finger seven times, as also its pavement, and again as often toward the most 
holy place, and about the golden altar: he also at last brings it into the open 
court, and sprinkles it about the great altar. Besides this, they set the 
extremities, and the kidneys, and the fat, with the lobe of the liver, upon the 
altar. The high priest likewise presents a ram to God as a burnt-offering. 

4. Upon the fifteenth day of the same month, when the season of the year is 
changing for winter, the law enjoins us to pitch tabernacles in every one of our 
houses, so that we preserve ourselves from the cold of that time of the year; as 
also that when we should arrive at our own country, and come to that city 
which we should have then for our metropolis, because of the temple therein to 
be built, and keep a festival for eight days, and offer burnt-offerings, and 
sacrifice thank-offerings, that we should then carry in our hands a branch of 
myrtle, and willow, and a bough of the palm-tree, with the addition of the pome 
citron: That the burnt-offering on the first of those days was to be a sacrifice of 



thirteen bulls, and fourteen lambs, and fifteen rams, with the addition of a kid 
of the goats, as an expiation for sins; and on the following days the same 
number of lambs, and of rams, with the kids of the goats; but abating one of the 
bulls every day till they amounted to seven only. On the eighth day all work 
was laid aside, and then, as we said before, they sacrificed to God a bullock, a 
ram, and seven lambs, with a kid of the goats, for an expiation of sins. And this 
is the accustomed solemnity of the Hebrews, when they pitch their tabernacles. 

5. In the month of Xanthicus, which is by us called Nisan, and is the 
beginning of our year, on the fourteenth day of the lunar month, when the sun is 
in Aries, (for in this month it was that we were delivered from bondage under 
the Egyptians,) the law ordained that we should every year slay that sacrifice 
which I before told you we slew when we came out of Egypt, and which was 
called the Passover; and so we do celebrate this passover in companies, leaving 
nothing of what we sacrifice till the day following. The feast of unleavened 
bread succeeds that of the passover, and falls on the fifteenth day of the month, 
and continues seven days, wherein they feed on unleavened bread; on every 
one of which days two bulls are killed, and one ram, and seven lambs. Now 
these lambs are entirely burnt, besides the kid of the goats which is added to all 
the rest, for sins; for it is intended as a feast for the priest on every one of those 
days. But on the second day of unleavened bread, which is the sixteenth day of 
the month, they first partake of the fruits of the earth, for before that day they 
do not touch them. And while they suppose it proper to honor God, from whom 
they obtain this plentiful provision, in the first place, they offer the first-fruits 
of their barley, and that in the manner following: They take a handful of the 
ears, and dry them, then beat them small, and purge the barley from the bran; 
they then bring one tenth deal to the altar, to God; and, casting one handful of it 
upon the fire, they leave the rest for the use of the priest. And after this it is that 
they may publicly or privately reap their harvest. They also at this participation 
of the first-fruits of the earth, sacrifice a lamb, as a burnt-offering to God. 

6. When a week of weeks has passed over after this sacrifice, (which weeks 
contain forty and nine days,) on the fiftieth day, which is Pentecost, but is 
called by the Hebrews Asartha, which signifies Pentecost, they bring to God a 
loaf, made of wheat flour, of two tenth deals, with leaven; and for sacrifices 
they bring two lambs; and when they have only presented them to God, they 
are made ready for supper for the priests; nor is it permitted to leave any thing 
of them till the day following. They also slay three bullocks for a burnt- 
offering, and two rams; and fourteen lambs, with two kids of the goats, for sins; 
nor is there anyone of the festivals but in it they offer burnt-offerings; they also 
allow themselves to rest on every one of them. Accordingly, the law prescribes 
in them all what kinds they are to sacrifice, and how they are to rest entirely, 
and must slay sacrifices, in order to feast upon them. 



7. However, out of the common charges, baked bread [was set on the table 
of shew-bread], without leaven, of twenty-four tenth deals of flour, for so much 
is spent upon this bread; two heaps of these were baked, they were baked the 
day before the Sabbath, but were brought into the holy place on the morning of 
the Sabbath, and set upon the holy table, six on a heap, one loaf still standing 
over against another; where two golden cups full of frankincense were also set 
upon them, and there they remained till another Sabbath, and then other loaves 
were brought in their stead, while the loaves were given to the priests for their 
food, and the frankincense was burnt in that sacred fire wherein all their 
offerings were burnt also; and so other frankincense was set upon the loaves 
instead of what was there before. The [high] priest also, of his own charges, 
offered a sacrifice, and that twice every day. It was made of flour mingled with 
oil, and gently baked by the fire; the quantity was one tenth deal of flour; he 
brought the half of it to the fire in the morning, and the other half at night. The 
account of these sacrifices I shall give more accurately hereafter; but I think I 
have premised what for the present may be sufficient concerning them. 

CHAPTER 11 

OF THE PURIFICATIONS 



1. Moses took out the tribe of Levi from communicating with the rest of the 
people, and set them apart to be a holy tribe; and purified them by water taken 
from perpetual springs, and with such sacrifices as were usually offered to God 
on the like occasions. He delivered to them also the tabernacle, and the sacred 
vessels, and the other curtains, which were made for covering the tabernacle, 
that they might minister under the conduct of the priests, who had been already 
consecrated to God. 

2. He also determined concerning animals; which of them might be used for 
food, and which they were obliged to abstain from; which matters, when this 
work shall give me occasion, shall be further explained; and the causes shall be 
added by which he was moved to allot some of them to be our food, and 
enjoined us to abstain from others. However, he entirely forbade us the use of 
blood for food, and esteemed it to contain the soul and spirit. He also forbade 
us to eat the flesh of an animal that died of itself, as also the caul, and the fat of 
goats, and sheep, and bulls. 

3. He also ordered that those whose bodies were afflicted with leprosy, and 
that had a gonorrhea, should not come into the city; 24 nay, he removed the 
women, when they had their natural purgations, till the seventh day; after which 
he looked on them as pure, and permitted them to come in again. The law 



permits those also who have taken care of funerals to come in after the same 
manner, when this number of days is over; but if any continued longer than that 
number of days in a state of pollution, the law appointed the offering two lambs 
for a sacrifice; the one of which they are to purge by fire, and for the other, the 
priests take it for themselves. In the same manner do those sacrifice who have 
had the gonorrhea. But he that sheds his seed in his sleep, if he go down into 
cold water, has the same privilege with those that have lawfully accompanied 
with their wives. And for the lepers, he suffered them not to come into the city 
at all, nor to live with any others, as if they were in effect dead persons; but if 
any one had obtained by prayer to God, the recovery from that distemper, and 
had gained a healthful complexion again, such a one returned thanks to God, 
with several sorts of sacrifices; concerning which we will speak hereafter. 

4. Whence one cannot but smile at those who say that Moses was himself 
afflicted with the leprosy when he fled out of Egypt, and that he became the 
conductor of those who on that account left that country, and led them into the 
land of Canaan; for had this been true, Moses would not have made these laws 
to his own dishonor, which indeed it was more likely he would have opposed, if 
others had endeavored to introduce them; and this the rather, because there are 
lepers in many nations, who yet are in honor, and not only free from reproach 
and avoidance, but who have been great captains of armies, and been intrusted 
with high offices in the commonwealth, and have had the privilege of entering 
into holy places and temples; so that nothing hindered, but if either Moses 
himself, or the multitude that was with him, had been liable to such a 
misfortune in the color of his skin, he might have made laws about them for 
their credit and advantage, and have laid no manner of difficulty upon them. 
Accordingly, it is a plain case, that it is out of violent prejudice only that they 
report these things about us. But Moses was pure from any such distemper, and 
lived with countrymen who were pure of it also, and thence made the laws 
which concerned others that had the distemper. He did this for the honor of 
God. But as to these matters, let every one consider them after what manner he 
pleases. 

5. As to the women, when they have born a child, Moses forbade them to 
come into the temple, or touch the sacrifices, before forty days were over, 
supposing it to be a boy; but if she hath born a girl, the law is that she cannot be 
admitted before twice that number of days be over. And when after the before- 
mentioned time appointed for them, they perform their sacrifices, the priests 
distribute them before God. 

6. But if any one suspect that his wife has been guilty of adultery, he was to 
bring a tenth deal of barley flour; they then cast one handful to God and gave 
the rest of it to the priests for food. One of the priests set the woman at the 
gates that are turned towards the temple, and took the veil from her head, and 



wrote the name of God on parchment, and enjoined her to swear that she had 
not at all injured her husband; and to wish that, if she had violated her chastity, 
her right thigh might be put out of joint; that her belly might swell; and that she 
might die thus: but that if her husband, by the violence of his affection, and of 
the jealousy which arose from it, had been rashly moved to this suspicion, that 
she might bear a male child in the tenth month. Now when these oaths were 
over, the priest wiped the name of God out of the parchment, and wrung the 
water into a vial. He also took some dust out of the temple, if any happened to 
be there, and put a little of it into the vial, and gave it her to drink; whereupon 
the woman, if she were unjustly accused, conceived with child, and brought it 
to perfection in her womb: but if she had broken her faith of wedlock to her 
husband, and had sworn falsely before God, she died in a reproachful manner; 
her thigh fell off from her, and her belly swelled with a dropsy. And these are 
the ceremonies about sacrifices, and about the purifications thereto belonging, 
which Moses provided for his countrymen. He also prescribed the following 
laws to them: — 

CHAPTER 12 

SEVERAL LAWS 



1. As for adultery, Moses forbade it entirely, as esteeming it a happy thing that 
men should be wise in the affairs of wedlock; and that it was profitable both to 
cities and families that children should be known to be genuine. He also 
abhorred men's lying with their mothers, as one of the greatest crimes; and the 
like for lying with the father's wife, and with aunts, and sisters, and sons' wives, 
as all instances of abominable wickedness. He also forbade a man to lie with 
his wife when she was defiled by her natural purgation: and not to come near 
brute beasts; nor to approve of the lying with a male, which was to hunt after 
unlawful pleasures on account of beauty. To those who were guilty of such 
insolent behavior, he ordained death for their punishment. 

2. As for the priests, he prescribed to them a double degree of purity: 25 for 
he restrained them in the instances above, and moreover forbade them to marry 
harlots. He also forbade them to marry a slave, or a captive, and such as got 
their living by cheating trades, and by keeping inns; as also a woman parted 
from her husband, on any account whatsoever. Nay, he did not think it proper 
for the high priest to marry even the widow of one that was dead, though he 
allowed that to the priests; but he permitted him only to marry a virgin, and to 
retain her. Whence it is that the high priest is not to come near to one that is 
dead, although the rest are not prohibited from coming near to their brethren, or 



parents, or children, when they are dead; but they are to be unblemished in all 
respects. He ordered that the priest who had any blemish, should have his 
portion indeed among the priests, but he forbade him to ascend the altar, or to 
enter into the holy house. He also enjoined them, not only to observe purity in 
their sacred ministrations, but in their daily conversation, that it might be 
unblamable also. And on this account it is that those who wear the sacerdotal 
garments are without spot, and eminent for their purity and sobriety: nor are 
they permitted to drink wine so long as they wear those garments. 26 Moreover, 
they offer sacrifices that are entire, and have no defect whatsoever. 

3. And truly Moses gave them all these precepts, being such as were 
observed during his own lifetime; but though he lived now in the wilderness, 
yet did he make provision how they might observe the same laws when they 
should have taken the land of Canaan. He gave them rest to the land from 
ploughing and planting every seventh year, as he had prescribed to them to rest 
from working every seventh day; and ordered, that then what grew of its own 
accord out of the earth should in common belong to all that pleased to use it, 
making no distinction in that respect between their own countrymen and 
foreigners: and he ordained, that they should do the same after seven times 
seven years, which in all are fifty years; and that fiftieth year is called by the 
Hebrews The Jubilee, wherein debtors are freed from their debts, and slaves are 
set at liberty; which slaves became such, though they were of the same stock, 
by transgressing some of those laws the punishment of which was not capital, 
but they were punished by this method of slavery. This year also restores the 
land to its former possessors in the manner following: — When the Jubilee is 
come, which name denotes liberty, he that sold the land, and he that bought it, 
meet together, and make an estimate, on one hand, of the fruits gathered; and, 
on the other hand, of the expenses laid out upon it. If the fruits gathered come 
to more than the expenses laid out, he that sold it takes the land again; but if the 
expenses prove more than the fruits, the present possessor receives of the 
former owner the difference that was wanting, and leaves the land to him; and 
if the fruits received, and the expenses laid out, prove equal to one another, the 
present possessor relinquishes it to the former owners. Moses would have the 
same law obtain as to those houses also which were sold in villages; but he 
made a different law for such as were sold in a city; for if he that sold it 
tendered the purchaser his money again within a year, he was forced to restore 
it; but in case a whole year had intervened, the purchaser was to enjoy what he 
had bought. This was the constitution of the laws which Moses learned of God 
when the camp lay under Mount Sinai, and this he delivered in writing to the 
Hebrews. 

4. Now when this settlement of laws seemed to be well over, Moses thought 
fit at length to take a review of the host, as thinking it proper to settle the affairs 



of war. So he charged the heads of the tribes, excepting the tribe of Levi, to take 
an exact account of the number of those that were able to go to war; for as to 
the Levites, they were holy, and free from all such burdens. Now when the 
people had been numbered, there were found six hundred thousand that were 
able to go to war, from twenty to fifty years of age, besides three thousand six 
hundred and fifty. Instead of Levi, Moses took Manasseh, the son of Joseph, 
among the heads of tribes; and Ephraim instead of Joseph. It was indeed the 
desire of Jacob himself to Joseph, that he would give him his sons to be his 
own by adoption, as I have before related. 

5. When they set up the tabernacle, they received it into the midst of their 
camp, three of the tribes pitching their tents on each side of it; and roads were 
cut through the midst of these tents. It was like a well-appointed market; and 
every thing was there ready for sale in due order; and all sorts of artificers were 
in the shops; and it resembled nothing so much as a city that sometimes was 
movable, and sometimes fixed. The priests had the first places about the 
tabernacle; then the Levites, who, because their whole multitude was reckoned 
from thirty days old, were twenty-three thousand eight hundred and eighty 
males; and during the time that the cloud stood over the tabernacle, they 
thought proper to stay in the same place, as supposing that God there inhabited 
among them; but when that removed, they journeyed also. 

6. Moreover, Moses was the inventor of the form of their trumpet, which 
was made of silver. Its description is this: — In length it was little less than a 
cubit. It was composed of a narrow tube, somewhat thicker than a flute, but 
with so much breadth as was sufficient for admission of the breath of a man's 
mouth: it ended in the form of a bell, like common trumpets. Its sound was 
called in the Hebrew tongue Asosra. Two of these being made, one of them was 
sounded when they required the multitude to come together to congregations. 
When the first of them gave a signal, the heads of the tribes were to assemble, 
and consult about the affairs to them properly belonging; but when they gave 
the signal by both of them, they called the multitude together. Whenever the 
tabernacle was removed, it was done in this solemn order: — At the first alarm 
of the trumpet, those whose tents were on the east quarter prepared to remove; 
when the second signal was given, those that were on the south quarter did the 
like; in the next place, the tabernacle was taken to pieces, and was carried in the 
midst of six tribes that went before, and of six that followed, all the Levites 
assisting about the tabernacle; when the third signal was given, that part which 
had their tents towards the west put themselves in motion; and at the fourth 
signal those on the north did so likewise. They also made use of these trumpets 
in their sacred ministrations, when they were bringing their sacrifices to the 
altar as well on the Sabbaths as on the rest of the [festival] days; and now it was 
that Moses offered that sacrifice which was called the Passover in the 



Wilderness, as the first he had offered after the departure out of Egypt. 

CHAPTER 13 

MOSES REMOVED FROM MOUNT SINAI, AND CONDUCTED THE 
PEOPLE TO THE BORDERS OF THE CANAANITES 



A little while afterwards he rose up, and went from Mount Sinai; and, having 
passed through several mansions, of which we will speak he came to a place 
called Hazeroth, where the multitude began again to be mutinous, and to Moses 
for the misfortunes they had suffered their travels; and that when he had 
persuaded to leave a good land, they at once had lost land, and instead of that 
happy state he had promised them, they were still wandering in their miserable 
condition, being already in want of water; and if the manna should happen to 
fail, must then utterly perish. Yet while they spake many and sore things against 
the man, there was one of them who exhorted them to be unmindful of Moses, 
and of what great pains he had been at about their common safety; not to 
despair of assistance from God. The multitude thereupon became still more 
unruly, and mutinous against Moses than before. Hereupon Moses, although he 
was so basely abused by them encouraged them in their despairing conditioned 
and promised that he would procure them a quantity of flesh-meat, and that not 
for a few days only, but for many days. This they were not to believe; and when 
one of them asked, whence he could obtain such vast plenty of what he 
promised, he replied, "Neither God nor I, although we hear such opprobrious 
language from you, will leave off our labors for you; and this shall soon appear 
also." As soon as ever he had said this, the whole camp was filled with quails, 
they stood round about them, and gathered great numbers. However, it was not 
long ere God punished the Hebrews for their insolence, those reproaches they 
had used towards him, for no small number of them died; and still to this day 
the place retains the memory of this destruction and is named Kibrothhattaavah, 
which is, The Graves of Lust. 

CHAPTER 14 

HOW MOSES SENT SOME PERSONS TO SEARCH OUT THE LAND OF 
THE CANAANITES, AND THE LARGENESS OF THEIR CITIES; AND 
FURTHER THAT WHEN THOSE WHO WERE SENT WERE RETURNED, 
AFTER FORTY DAYS, AND REPORTED THAT THEY SHOULD NOT BE 
A MATCH FOR THEM, AND EXTOLLED THE STRENGTH OF THE 
CANAANITES, THE MULTITUDE WERE DISTURBED AND FELL INTO 



DESPAIR; AND WERE RESOLVED TO STONE MOSES, AND TO 
RETURN BACK AGAIN INTO EGYPT, AND SERVE THE EGYPTIANS 



1. When Moses had led the Hebrews away from thence to a place called Paran, 
which was near to the borders of the Canaanites, and a place difficult to be 
continued in, he gathered the multitude together to a congregation; and standing 
in the midst of them, he said, "Of the two things that God determined to bestow 
upon us, liberty, and the possession of a Happy Country, the one of them ye 
already are partakers of, by the gift of God, and the other you will quickly 
obtain; for we now have our abode near the borders of the Canaanites, and 
nothing can hinder the acquisition of it, when we now at last are fallen upon it: 
I say, not only no king nor city, but neither the whole race of mankind, if they 
were all gathered together, could do it. Let us therefore prepare ourselves for 
the work, for the Canaanites will not resign up their land to us without fighting, 
but it must be wrested from them by great struggles in war. Let us then send 
spies, who may take a view of the goodness of the land, and what strength it is 
of; but, above all things, let us be of one mind, and let us honor God, who 
above all is our helper and assister." 

2. When Moses had said thus, the multitude requited him with marks of 
respect; and chose twelve spies, of the most eminent men, one out of each tribe, 
who, passing over all the land of Canaan, from the borders of Egypt, came to 
the city Hamath, and to Mount Lebanon; and having learned the nature of the 
land, and of its inhabitants, they came home, having spent forty days in the 
whole work. They also brought with them of the fruits which the land bare; 
they also showed them the excellency of those fruits, and gave an account of 
the great quantity of the good things that land afforded, which were motives to 
the multitude to go to war. But then they terrified them again with the great 
difficulty there was in obtaining it; that the rivers were so large and deep that 
they could not be passed over; and that the hills were so high that they could 
not travel along for them; that the cities were strong with walls, and their firm 
fortifications round about them. They told them also, that they found at Hebron 
the posterity of the giants. Accordingly these spies, who had seen the land of 
Canaan, when they perceived that all these difficulties were greater there than 
they had met with since they came out of Egypt, they were affrighted at them 
themselves, and endeavored to affright the multitude also. 

3. So they supposed, from what they had heard, that it was impossible to get 
the possession of the country. And when the congregation was dissolved, they, 
their wives and children, continued their lamentation, as if God would not 
indeed assist them, but only promised them fair. They also again blamed 
Moses, and made a clamor against him and his brother Aaron, the high priest. 
Accordingly they passed that night very ill, and with contumelious language 



against them; but in the morning they ran to a congregation, intending to stone 
Moses and Aaron, and so to return back into Egypt. 

4. But of the spies, there were Joshua the son of Nun, of the tribe of 
Ephraim, and Caleb of the tribe of Judah, that were afraid of the consequence, 
and came into the midst of them, and stilled the multitude, and desired them to 
be of good courage; and neither to condemn God, as having told them lies, nor 
to hearken to those who had affrighted them, by telling them what was not true 
concerning the Canaanites, but to those that encouraged them to hope for good 
success; and that they should gain possession of the happiness promised them, 
because neither the height of mountains, nor the depth of rivers, could hinder 
men of true courage from attempting them, especially while God would take 
care of them beforehand, and be assistant to them. "Let us then go," said they, 
"against our enemies, and have no suspicion of ill success, trusting in God to 
conduct us, and following those that are to be our leaders." Thus did these two 
exhort them, and endeavor to pacify the rage they were in. But Moses and 
Aaron fell on the ground, and besought God, not for their own deliverance, but 
that he would put a stop to what the people were unwarily doing, and would 
bring their minds to a quiet temper, which were now disordered by their present 
passion. The cloud also did now appear, and stood over the tabernacle, and 
declared to them the presence of God to be there. 

CHAPTER 15 

HOW MOSES WAS DISPLEASED AT THIS, AND FORETOLD THAT GOD 
WAS ANGRY AND THAT THEY SHOULD CONTINUE IN THE 
WILDERNESS FOR FORTY YEARS AND NOT, DURING THAT TIME, 
EITHER RETURN INTO EGYPT OR TAKE POSSESSION OF CANAAN 



1. Moses came now boldly to the multitude, and informed them that God was 
moved at their abuse of him, and would inflict punishment upon them, not 
indeed such as they deserved for their sins, but such as parents inflict on their 
children, in order to their correction. For, he said, that when he was in the 
tabernacle, and was bewailing with ears that destruction which was coming 
upon them God put him in mind what things he had done for them, and what 
benefits they had received from him, and yet how ungrateful they had been to 
him that just now they had been induced, through the timorousness of the spies, 
to think that their words were truer than his own promise to them; and that on 
this account, though he would not indeed destroy them all, nor utterly 
exterminate their nation, which he had honored more than any other part of 
mankind, yet he would not permit them to take possession of the land of 



Canaan, nor enjoy its happiness; but would make them wander in the 
wilderness, and live without a fixed habitation, and without a city, for forty 
years together, as a punishment for this their transgression; but that he had 
promised to give that land to our children, and that he would make them the 
possessors of those good things which, by your ungoverned passions, you have 
deprived yourselves of. 

2. When Moses had discoursed thus to them according to the direction of 
God, the multitude, grieved, and were in affliction; and entreated Most to 
procure their reconciliation to God, and to permit them no longer to wander in 
the wilderness, but bestow cities upon them. But he replied, that God would not 
admit of any such trial, for that God was not moved to this determination from 
any human levity or anger, but that he had judicially condemned them to that 
punishment. Now we are not to disbelieve that Moses, who was but a single 
person, pacified so many ten thousands when they were in anger, and converted 
them to a mildness temper; for God was with him, and prepared the way to his 
persuasions of the multitude; and as they had often been disobedient, they were 
now sensible that such disobedience was disadvantageous to them and that they 
had still thereby fallen into calamities. 

3. But this man was admirable for his virtue, and powerful in making men 
give credit to what he delivered, not only during the time of his natural life, but 
even there is still no one of the Hebrews who does not act even now as if 
Moses were present, and ready to punish him if he should do any thing that is 
indecent; nay, there is no one but is obedient to what laws he ordained, 
although they might be concealed in their transgressions. There are also many 
other demonstrations that his power was more than human, for still some there 
have been, who have come from the parts beyond Euphrates, a journey of four 
months, through many dangers, and at great expenses, in honor of our temple; 
and yet, when they had offered their oblations, could not partake of their own 
sacrifices, because Moses had forbidden it, by somewhat in the law that did not 
permit them, or somewhat that had befallen them, which our ancient customs 
made inconsistent therewith; some of these did not sacrifice at all, and others 
left their sacrifices in an imperfect condition; many were not able, even at first, 
so much as to enter the temple, but went their ways in this as preferring a 
submission to the laws of Moses before the fulfilling of their own inclinations, 
they had no fear upon them that anybody could convict them, but only out of a 
reverence to their own conscience. Thus this legislation, which appeared to be 
divine, made this man to be esteemed as one superior to his own nature. Nay, 
further, a little before the beginning of this war, when Claudius was emperor of 
the Romans, and Ismael was our high priest, and when so great a famine 27 was 
come upon us, that one tenth deal [of wheat] was sold for four drachmae, and 
when no less than seventy cori of flour were brought into the temple, at the 



feast of unleavened bread, (these cori are thirty-one Sicilian, but forty-one 
Athenian medimni,) not one of the priests was so hardy as to eat one crumb of 
it, even while so great a distress was upon the land; and this out of a dread of 
the law, and of that wrath which God retains against acts of wickedness, even 
when no one can accuse the actors. Whence we are not to wonder at what was 
then done, while to this very day the writings left by Moses have so great a 
force, that even those that hate us do confess, that he who established this 
settlement was God, and that it was by the means of Moses, and of his virtue; 
but as to these matters, let every one take them as he thinks fit. 



'Dr. Bernard takes notice here, that this place Mar, where the waters were bitter, is called by the Syrians 
and Arabians Mariri, and by the Syrians sometimes Morath, all derived from the Hebrew Mar. He also 
takes notice, that it is called The Bitter Fountain by Pliny himself; which waters remain there to this day, 
and are still bitter, as Thevenot assures us and that there are also abundance of palm-trees. See his Travels, 
Part I. ch. 26. p. 166. 

2 The additions here to Moses's account of the sweetening of the waters at Marah, seem derived from 
some ancient profane author, and he such an author also as looks less authentic than are usually followed 
by Josephus. Philo has not a syllable of these additions, nor any other ancienter writer that we know of. 
Had Josephus written these his Antiquities for the use of Jews, he would hardly have given them these very 
improbable circumstances; but writing to Gentiles, that they might not complain of his omission of any 
accounts of such miracles derived from Gentiles, he did not think proper to conceal what he had met with 
there about this matter. Which procedure is perfectly agreeable to the character and usage of Josephus upon 
many occasions. This note is, I confess, barely conjectural; and since Josephus never tells us when his own 
copy, taken out of the temple, had such additions, or when any ancient notes supplied them; or indeed when 
they are derived from Jewish, and when from Gentile antiquity, — we can go no further than bare 
conjectures in such cases; only the notions of Jews were generally so different from those of Gentiles, that 
we may sometimes make no improbable conjectures to which sort such additions belong. See also 
somewhat like these additions in Josephus's account of Elisha's making sweet the bitter and barren spring 
near Jericho, War, B. IV. ch. 8. sect. 3. 

3 It seems to me, from what Moses, Exodus 16:18, St. Paul, 2 Corinthians 8:15, and Josephus here say, 
compared together, that the quantity of manna that fell daily, and did not putrefy, was just so much as came 
to an omer apiece, through the whole host of Israel, and no more. 

4 This supposal, that the sweet honey-dew or manna, so celebrated in ancient and modern authors, as 
falling usually in Arabia, was of the very same sort with this manna sent to the Israelites, savors more of 
Gentilism than of Judaism or Christianity. It is not improbable that some ancient Gentile author, read by 
Josephus, so thought; nor would he here contradict him; though just before, and Antiq. B. IV. ch. 3. sect. 2, 
he seems directly to allow that it had not been seen before. However, this food from heaven is here 
described to be like snow; and in Artapanus, a heathen writer, it is compared to meal, color like to snow, 
rained down by God," Essay on the Old Test. Append, p. 239. But as to the derivation of the word manna, 
whether from man, which Josephus says then signified what is it or from mannah, to divide, i.e. a dividend 
or portion allotted to every one, it is uncertain: I incline to the latter derivation. This manna is called angels' 
food, Psalm 78:26, and by our Savior, John 6:31, etc., as well as by Josephus here and elsewhere, Antiq. B. 
JJI. ch. 5. sect. 3, said to be sent the Jews from heaven. 

5 This rock is there at this day, as the travelers agree; and must be the same that was there in the days of 
Moses, as being too large to be brought thither by our modern carriages. 

6 Note here, that the small book of the principal laws of Moses is ever said to be laid up in the holy house 
itself; but the larger Pentateuch, as here, somewhere within the limits of the temple and its courts only. See 
Antiq. B. V. ch. 1. sect. 17. 

7 This eminent circumstance, that while Moses's hands were lifted up towards heaven, the Israelites 
prevailed, and while they were let down towards the earth, the Amalekites prevailed, seems to me the 
earliest intimation we have of the proper posture, used of old, in solemn prayer, which was the stretching 



out of the hands [and eyes] towards heaven, as other passages of the Old and New Testament inform us. 
Nay, by the way, this posture seemed to have continued in the Christian church, till the clergy, instead of 
learning their prayers by heart, read them out of a book, which is in a great measure inconsistent with such 
an elevated posture, and which seems to me to have been only a later practice, introduced under the corrupt 
state of the church; though the constant use of divine forms of prayer, praise, and thanksgiving, appears to 
me to have been the practice of God's people, patriarchs, Jews, and Christians, in all the past ages. 

8 This manner of electing the judges and officers of the Israelites by the testimonies and suffrages of the 
people, before they were ordained by God, or by Moses, deserves to be carefully noted, because it was the 
pattern of the like manner of the choice and ordination of bishops, presbyters, and deacons, in the Christian 
church. 

9 Since this mountain, Sinai, is here said to be the highest of all the mountains that are in that country, it 
must be that now called St. Katherine's, which is one-third higher than that within a mile of it, now called 
Sinai, as Mons. Thevenot informs us, Travels, Part I. ch. 23. p. 168. The other name of it, Horeb, is never 
used by Josephus, and perhaps was its name among the Egyptians only, whence the Israelites were lately 
come, as Sinai was its name among the Arabians, Canaanites, and other nations. Accordingly when (1 
Kings 9:8) the Scripture says that Elijah came to Horeb, the mount of God, Josephus justly says, Antiq. B. 
VIII. ch. 13. sect. 7, that he came to the mountain called Sinai: and Jerome, here cited by Dr. Hudson, says, 
that he took this mountain to have two names, Sinai and Choreb. De Nomin. Heb. p. 427. 

10 Of this and another like superstitious notion of the Pharisees, which Josephus complied with, see the 
note on Antiq. B. II. ch. 12. sect. 4. 

"This other work of Josephus, here referred to, seems to be that which does not appear to have been 
ever published, which yet he intended to publish, about the reasons of many of the laws of Moses; of which 
see the note on the Preface, sect. 4. 

12 Of this tabernacle of Moses, with its several parts and furniture, see my description at large, chap. 6. 7. 
8. 9. 10. 11. 12. hereto belonging. 

"The use of these golden bells at the bottom of the high priest's long garment, seems to me to have been 
this: that by shaking his garment at the time of his offering incense in the temple, on the great day of 
expiation, or at other proper periods of his sacred ministrations there, on the great festivals, the people 
might have notice of it, and might fall to their own prayers at the time of incense, or other proper periods; 
and so the whole congregation might at once offer those common prayers jointly with the high priest 
himself to the Almighty. See Luke 1:10; Revelation 8:3, 4. Nor probably is the son of Sirach to be 
otherwise understood, when he says of Aaron, the first high priest, Sir. 14:9, "And God encompassed Aaron 
with pomegranates, and with many golden bells round about, that as he went there might be a sound, and a 
noise made that might be heard in the temple, for a memorial to the children of his people." 

14 The reader ought to take notice here, that the very Mosaic Petalon, or golden plate, for the forehead of 
the Jewish high priest, was itself preserved, not only till the days of Josephus, but of Origen; and that its 
inscription, Holiness to the Lord, was in the Samaritan characters. See Antiq. B. VIII. ch. 3. sect. 8, Essay 
on the Old Test. p. 154, and Reland, De Spol. Templi, p. 132. 

15 When Josephus, both here and ch. 6. sect. 4, supposes the tabernacle to have been parted into three 
parts, he seems to esteem the bare entrance to be a third division, distinct from the holy and the most holy 
places; and this the rather, because in the temple afterward there was a real distinct third part, which was 
called the Porch: otherwise Josephus would contradict his own description of the tabernacle, which gives as 
a particular account of no more than two parts. 

16 This explication of the mystical meaning of the Jewish tabernacle and its vessels, with the garments of 
the high priest, is taken out of Philo, and fitted to Gentile philosophical notions. This may possibly be 
forgiven in Jews, greatly versed in heathen learning and philosophy, as Philo had ever been, and as 
Josephus had long been when he wrote these Antiquities. In the mean time, it is not to be doubted, but in 
their education they must have both learned more Jewish interpretations, such as we meet with in the 
Epistle of Barnabas, in that to the Hebrews, and elsewhere among the old Jews. Accordingly when 
Josephus wrote his books of the Jewish War, for the use of the Jews, at which time he was comparatively 
young, and less used to Gentile books, we find one specimen of such a Jewish interpretation; for there (B. 
VII. ch. 5. sect. 5) he makes the seven branches of the temple-candlestick, with their seven lamps, an 
emblem of the seven days of creation and rest, which are here emblems of the seven planets. Nor certainly 
ought ancient Jewish emblems to be explained any other way than according to ancient Jewish, and not 
Gentile, notions. See of the War, B. I. ch. 33. sect. 2. 

17 It is well worth our observation, that the two principal qualifications required in this section for the 



constitution of the first high priest, (viz. that he should have an excellent character for virtuous and good 
actions; as also that he should have the approbation of the people,) are here noted by Josephus, even where 
the nomination belonged to God himself; which are the very same qualifications which the Christian 
religion requires in the choice of Christian bishops, priests, and deacons; as the Apostolical Constitutions 
inform us, B. II. ch. 3. 

18 This weight and value of the Jewish shekel, in the days of Josephus, equal to about 2s. lOd. sterling, is, 
by the learned Jews, owned to be one-fifth larger than were their old shekels; which determination agrees 
perfectly with the remaining shekels that have Samaritan inscriptions, coined generally by Simon the 
Maccabee, about 230 years before Josephus published his Antiquities, which never weigh more than 2s. 
4d., and commonly but 2s. 4d. See Reland De Nummis Samaritanorum, p. 138. 

19 The incense was here offered, according to Josephus's opinion, before sun-rising, and at sun-setting; 
but in the days of Pompey, according to the same Josephus, the sacrifices were offered in the morning, and 
at the ninth hour. Antiq. B. XIV. ch. 4. sect. 3. 

20 Hence we may correct the opinions of the modern Rabbins, who say that only one of the seven lamps 
burned in the day-time; whereas our Josephus, an eyewitness, says there were three. 

21 Of this strange expression, that Moses "left it to God to be present at his sacrifices when he pleased, 
and when he pleased to be absent," see the note on B. II. Against Apion, sect. 16. 

22 These answers by the oracle of Urim and Thummim, which words signify, light and perfection, or, as 
the Septuagint render them, revelation and truth, and denote nothing further, that I see, but the shining 
stones themselves, which were used, in this method of illumination, in revealing the will of God, after a 
perfect and true manner, to his people Israel: I say, these answers were not made by the shining of the 
precious stones, after an awkward manner, in the high priest's breastplate, as the modern Rabbins vainly 
suppose; for certainly the shining of the stones might precede or accompany the oracle, without itself 
delivering that oracle, see Antiq. B. VI. ch. 6. sect. 4; but rather by an audible voice from the mercy-seat 
between the cherubims. See Prideaux's Connect, at the year 534. This oracle had been silent, as Josephus 
here informs us, two hundred years before he wrote his Antiquities, or ever since the days of the last good 
high priest of the family of the Maccabees, John Hyrcanus. Now it is here very well worth our observation, 
that the oracle before us was that by which God appeared to he present with, and gave directions to, his 
people Israel as their King, all the while they submitted to him in that capacity; and did not set over them 
such independent kings as governed according to their own wills and political maxims, instead of Divine 
directions. Accordingly we meet with this oracle (besides angelic and prophetic admonitions) all along 
from the days of Moses and Joshua to the anointing of Saul, the first of the succession of the kings, 
Numbers 27:21; Joshua 6:6, etc.; 19:50; Judges 1:1; 18:4-6, 30, 31; 20:18, 23, 26-28; 21:1, etc.; 1 Samuel 
1: 17-18; 3 per tot.; 4. per tot.; nay, till Saul's rejection of the Divine commands in the war with Amalek, 
when he took upon him to act as he thought fit, 1 Samuel 14:3, 18, 19, 36, 37, then this oracle left Saul 
entirely, (which indeed he had seldom consulted before, 1 Samuel 14:35; 1 Chronicles 10:14; 13:3; Antiq. 
B. 7 ch. 4 sect 2.) and accompanied David, who was anointed to succeed him, and who consulted God by it 
frequently, and complied with its directions constantly (1 Samuel 14:37, 41; 15:26; 22:13, 15; 23:9, 10; 
30:7, 8, 18; 2 Samuel 2:1; 5:19, 23; 21:1; 23:14; 1 Chronicles 14:10, 14; Antiq. B IV ch. 12 sect. 5). Saul, 
indeed, long after his rejection by God, and when God had given him up to destruction for his 
disobedience, did once afterwards endeavor to consult God when it was too late; but God would not then 
answer him, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets, 1 Samuel 28:6. Nor did any of David's 
successors, the kings of Judah, that we know of, consult God by this oracle, till the very Babylonish 
captivity itself, when those kings were at an end; they taking upon them, I suppose, too much of despotic 
power and royalty, and too little owning the God of Israel for the supreme King of Israel, though a few of 
them consulted the prophets sometimes, and were answered by them. At the return of the two tribes, 
without the return of the kingly government, the restoration of this oracle was expected, Nehemiah 7:63; 1 
Esd. 5:40; 1 Mace. 4:46; 14:41. And indeed it may seem to have been restored for some time after the 
Babylonish captivity, at least in the days of that excellent high priest, John Hyrcanus, whom Josephus 
esteemed as a king, a priest, and a prophet; and who, he says, foretold several things that came to pass 
accordingly; but about the time of his death, he here implies, that this oracle quite ceased, and not before. 
The following high priests now putting diadems on their heads, and ruling according to their own will, and 
by their own authority, like the other kings of the pagan countries about them; so that while the God of 
Israel was allowed to be the supreme King of Israel, and his directions to be their authentic guides, God 
gave them such directions as their supreme King and Governor, and they were properly under a theocracy, 
by this oracle of Urim, but no longer (see Dr. Bernard's notes here); though I confess I cannot but esteem 



the high priest Jaddus's divine dream, Antiq. B. XL ch. 8. sect. 4, and the high priest Caiaphas's most 
remarkable prophecy, John 11:47-52, as two small remains or specimens of this ancient oracle, which 
properly belonged to the Jewish high priests: nor perhaps ought we entirely to forget that eminent prophetic 
dream of our Josephus himself, (one next to a high priest, as of the family of the Asamoneans or 
Maccabees,) as to the succession of Vespasian and Titus to the Roman empire, and that in the days of Nero, 
and before either Galba, Otho, or Vitellius were thought of to succeed him. Of the War, B. III. ch. 8. sect. 9. 
This, I think, may well be looked on as the very last instance of any thing like the prophetic Urim among 
the Jewish nation, and just preceded their fatal desolation: but how it could possibly come to pass that such 
great men as Sir John Marsham and Dr. Spenser, should imagine that this oracle of Urim and Thummim 
with other practices as old or older than the law of Moses, should have been ordained in imitation of 
somewhat like them among the Egyptians, which we never hear of till the days of Diodorus Siculus, Aelian, 
and Maimonides, or little earlier than the Christian era at the highest, is almost unaccountable; while the 
main business of the law of Moses was evidently to preserve the Israelites from the idolatrous and 
superstitious practices of the neighboring pagan nations; and while it is so undeniable, that the evidence for 
the great antiquity of Moses's law is incomparably beyond that for the like or greater antiquity of such 
customs in Egypt or other nations, which indeed is generally none at all, it is most absurd to derive any of 
Moses's laws from the imitation of those heathen practices, Such hypotheses demonstrate to us how far 
inclination can prevail over evidence, in even some of the most learned part of mankind. 

23 What Reland well observes here, out of Josephus, as compared with the law of Moses, Leviticus 7:15, 
(that the eating of the sacrifice the same day it was offered, seems to mean only before the morning of the 
next, although the latter part, i.e. the night, be in strictness part of the next day, according to the Jewish 
reckoning,) is greatly to be observed upon other occasions also. The Jewish maxim in such cases, it seems, 
is this: That the day goes before the night; and this appears to me to be the language both of the Old and 
New Testament. See also the note on Antiq. B. IV. ch. 4. sect. 4, and Reland's note on B. IV ch. 8. sect. 28. 

24 We may here note, that Josephus frequently calls the camp the city, and the court of the Mosaic 
tabernacle a temple, and the tabernacle itself a holy house, with allusion to the latter city, temple, and holy 
house, which he knew so well long afterwards. 

25 These words of Josephus are remarkable, that the lawgiver of the Jews required of the priests a double 
degree of parity, in comparison of that required of the people, of which he gives several instances 
immediately. It was for certain the case also among the first Christians, of the clergy, in comparison of the 
laity, as the Apostolical Constitutions and Canons every where inform us. 

26 We must here note with Reland, that the precept given to the priests of not drinking wine while they 
wore the sacred garments, is equivalent; to their abstinence from it all the while they ministered in the 
temple; because they then always, and then only, wore those sacred garments, which were laid up there 
from one time of ministration to another. 

27 This great famine in the days of Claudius, is again mentioned in Antiq, 20.2.6; and Acts 1 1:28. 

BOOK 4 

CONTAINING THE INTERVAL OF THIRTY-EIGHT YEARS 

FROM THE REJECTION OF THAT GENERATION TO THE DEATH 

OF MOSES 

CHAPTER 1 

THE FIGHT OF THE HEBREWS WITH THE CANAANITES, WITHOUT 
THE CONSENT OF MOSES; AND THEIR DEFEAT 



1. Now this life of the Hebrews in the wilderness was so disagreeable and 
troublesome to them, and they were so uneasy at it, that although God had 



forbidden them to meddle with the Canaanites, yet could they not be persuaded 
to be obedient to the words of Moses, and to be quiet; but supposing they 
should be able to beat their enemies, without his approbation, they accused 
him, and suspected that he made it his business to keep in a distressed 
condition, that they might always stand in need of his assistance. Accordingly 
they resolved to fight with the Canaanites, and said that God gave them his 
assistance, not out of regard to Moses's intercessions, but because he took care 
of their entire nation, on account of their forefathers, whose affairs he took 
under his own conduct; as also, that it was on account of their own virtue that 
he had formerly procured them their liberty, and would be assisting to them, 
now they were willing to take pains for it. They also said that they were 
possessed of abilities sufficient for the conquest of their enemies, although 
Moses should have a mind to alienate God from them; that, however, it was for 
their advantage to be their own masters, and not so far to rejoice in their 
deliverance from the indignities they endured under the Egyptians, as to bear 
the tyranny of Moses over them, and to suffer themselves to be deluded, and 
live according to his pleasure, as though God did only foretell what concerns us 
out of his kindness to him, as if they were not all the posterity of Abraham; that 
God made him alone the author of all the knowledge we have, and we must still 
learn it from him; that it would be a piece of prudence to oppose his arrogant 
pretences, and to put their confidence in God, and to resolve to take possession 
of that land which he had promised them, and not to give ear to him, who on 
this account, and under the pretence of Divine authority, forbade them so to do. 
Considering, therefore, the distressed state they were in at present, and that in 
those desert places they were still to expect things would be worse with them, 
they resolved to fight with the Canaanites, as submitting only to God, their 
supreme Commander, and not waiting for any assistance from their legislator. 

2. When, therefore, they had come to this resolution, as being best for them, 
they went against their enemies; but those enemies were not dismayed either at 
the attack itself, or at the great multitude that made it, and received them with 
great courage. Many of the Hebrews were slain; and the remainder of the army, 
upon the disorder of their troops, were pursued, and fled, after a shameful 
manner, to their camp. Whereupon this unexpected misfortune made them quite 
despond; and they hoped for nothing that was good; as gathering from it, that 
this affliction came from the wrath of God, because they rashly went out to war 
without his approbation. 

3. But when Moses saw how deeply they were affected with this defeat, and 
being afraid lest the enemies should grow insolent upon this victory, and should 
be desirous of gaining still greater glory, and should attack them, he resolved 
that it was proper to withdraw the army into the wilderness to a further distance 
from the Canaanites: so the multitude gave themselves up again to his conduct, 



for they were sensible that, without his care for them, their affairs could not be 
in a good condition; and he caused the host to remove, and he went further into 
the wilderness, as intending there to let them rest, and not to permit them to 
fight the Canaanites before God should afford them a more favorable 
opportunity. 

CHAPTER 2 

THE SEDITION OF CORAH AND OF THE MULTITUDE AGAINST 
MOSES, AND AGAINST HIS BROTHER, CONCERNING THE 
PRIESTHOOD 



1. That which is usually the case of great armies, and especially upon ill 
success, to be hard to be pleased, and governed with difficulty, did now befall 
the Jews; for they being in number six hundred thousand, and by reason of their 
great multitude not readily subject to their governors, even in prosperity, they at 
this time were more than usually angry, both against one another and against 
their leader, because of the distress they were in, and the calamities they then 
endured. Such a sedition overtook them, as we have not the like example either 
among the Greeks or the Barbarians, by which they were in danger of being all 
destroyed, but were notwithstanding saved by Moses, who would not remember 
that he had been almost stoned to death by them. Nor did God neglect to 
prevent their ruin; but, notwithstanding the indignities they had offered their 
legislator and the laws, and disobedience to the commandments which he had 
sent them by Moses, he delivered them from those terrible calamities which, 
without his providential care, had been brought upon them by this sedition. So I 
will first explain the cause whence this sedition arose, and then will give an 
account of the sedition itself; as also of what settlements made for their 
government after it was over. 

2. Corah, a Hebrew of principal account, both by his family and by his 
wealth, one that was also able to speak well, and one that could easily persuade 
the people by his speeches, saw that Moses was in an exceeding great dignity, 
and was at it, and envied him on that account, (he of the same tribe with Moses, 
and of kin to him,) was particularly grieved, because he thought he better 
deserved that honorable post on account of great riches, and not inferior to him 
in his birth. So he raised a clamor against him among the Levites, who were of 
the same tribe, and among his kindred, saying, "That it was a very sad thing 
that they should overlook Moses, while hunted after and paved the way to glory 
for himself, and by ill arts should obtain it, under the pretence of God's 
command, while, contrary to laws, he had given the priesthood to Aaron, the 



common suffrage of the multitude, but by his own vote, as bestowing dignities 
in a way on whom he pleased." He added, "That this concealed way of 
imposing on them was harder to be borne than if it had been done by an open 
force upon them, because he did now not only their power without their 
consent, but even they were unapprised of his contrivances against them; for 
whosoever is conscious to himself that he deserves any dignity, aims to get it 
by persuasion, and not by an arrogant method of violence; those that believe it 
impossible to obtain honors justly, make a show of goodness, and do not 
introduce force, but by cunning tricks grow wickedly powerful. That it was 
proper for the multitude to punish such men, even while they think themselves 
concealed in their designs, and not suffer them to gain strength till they have 
them for their open enemies. For what account," added he, "is Moses able to 
give, why he has bestowed the priesthood on Aaron and his sons? for if God 
had determined to bestow that honor on one of the tribe of Levi, I am more 
worthy of it than he is; I myself being equal to Moses by my family, and 
superior to him both in riches and in age: but if God had determined to bestow 
it on the eldest tribe, that of Reuben might have it most justly; and then Dathan, 
and Abiram, and [On, the son of] Peleth, would have it; for these are the oldest 
men of that tribe, and potent on account of their great wealth also." 

3. Now Corah, when he said this, had a mind to appear to take care of the 
public welfare, but in reality he was endeavoring to procure to have that dignity 
transferred by the multitude to himself. Thus did he, out of a malignant design, 
but with discourse to those of his own tribe; when these words did gradually 
spread to more people, and when the hearers still added to what tended to the 
scandals that were cast upon the whole army was full of them. Now of those 
that conspired with Corah, there were two hundred and fifty, and those of the 
principal men also, who were eager to have the priesthood taken away from 
Moses's brother, and to bring him into disgrace: nay, the multitude themselves 
were provoked to be seditious, and attempted to stone Moses, and gathered 
themselves together after an indecent manner, with confusion and disorder. And 
now all were, in a tumultuous manner, raising a clamor before the tabernacle of 
God, to prosecute the tyrant, and to relieve the multitude from their slavery 
under him who, under color of the Divine laid violent injunctions upon them; 
for had it been God who chose one that was to the office of a priest, he would 
have raised a worthy person to that dignity, and would not have produced such 
a one as was inferior to many others nor have given him that office; and that in 
case he had judged it fit to bestow it on Aaron, he would have permitted it to 
the multitude to bestow it, and not have left it to be bestowed by his own 
brother. 

4. Now although Moses had a great while ago foreseen this calumny of 
Corah, and had seen the people were irritated, yet was he not affrighted at it; 



but being of good courage, because he had given them right advice about their 
affairs, and knowing that his brother had been made partaker of the priesthood 
at the command of God, and not by his own favor to him, he came to the 
assembly; and as for the multitude, he said not a word to them, but spake as 
loud to Corah as he could; and being very skilful in making speeches, and 
having this natural talent, among others, that he could greatly move the 
multitude with his discourses, he said, "O Corah, both thou and all these with 
thee (pointing to the two hundred and fifty men) seem to be worthy of this 
honor; nor do I pretend but that this whole company may be worthy of the like 
dignity, although they may not be so rich or so great as you are: nor have I 
taken and given this office to my brother because he excelled others in riches, 
for thou exceedest us both in the greatness of thy wealth; 1 nor indeed because 
he was of an eminent family, for God, by giving us the same common ancestor, 
has made our families equal: nay, nor was it out of brotherly affection, which 
another might yet have justly done; for certainly, unless I had bestowed this 
honor out of regard to God, and to his laws, I had not passed by myself, and 
given it to another, as being nearer of kin to myself than to my brother, and 
having a closer intimacy with myself than I have with him; for surely it would 
not be a wise thing for me to expose myself to the dangers of offending, and to 
bestow the happy employment on this account upon another. But I am above 
such base practices: nor would God have overlooked this matter, and seen 
himself thus despised; nor would he have suffered you to be ignorant of what 
you were to do, in order to please him; but he hath himself chosen one that is to 
perform that sacred office to him, and thereby freed us from that care. So that it 
was not a thing that I pretend to give, but only according to the determination 
of God; I therefore propose it still to be contended for by such as please to put 
in for it, only desiring that he who has been already preferred, and has already 
obtained it, may be allowed now also to offer himself for a candidate. He 
prefers your peace, and your living without sedition, to this honorable 
employment, although in truth it was with your approbation that he obtained it; 
for though God were the donor, yet do we not offend when we think fit to 
accept it with your good- will; yet would it have been an instance of impiety not 
to have taken that honorable employment when he offered it; nay, it had been 
exceedingly unreasonable, when God had thought fit any one should have it for 
all time to come, and had made it secure and firm to him, to have refused it. 
However, he himself will judge again who it shall be whom he would have to 
offer sacrifices to him, and to have the direction of matters of religion; for it is 
absurd that Corah, who is ambitious of this honor, should deprive God of the 
power of giving it to whom he pleases. Put an end, therefore, to your sedition 
and disturbance on this account; and tomorrow morning do every one of you 
that desire the priesthood bring a censer from home, and come hither with 



incense and fire: and do thou, O Corah, leave the judgment to God, and await to 
see on which side he will give his determination upon this occasion, but do not 
thou make thyself greater than God. Do thou also come, that this contest about 
this honorable employment may receive determination. And I suppose we may 
admit Aaron without offense, to offer himself to this scrutiny, since he is of the 
same lineage with thyself, and has done nothing in his priesthood that can be 
liable to exception. Come ye therefore together, and offer your incense in 
public before all the people; and when you offer it, he whose sacrifice God 
shall accept shall be ordained to the priesthood, and shall be clear of the present 
calumny on Aaron, as if I had granted him that favor because he was my 
brother." 

CHAPTER 3 

HOW THOSE THAT STIRRED UP THIS SEDITION WERE DESTROYED, 
ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF GOD; AND HOW AARON, MOSES'S 
BROTHER BOTH HE AND HIS POSTERITY, RETAINED THE 
PRIESTHOOD 



1. When Moses had said this, the multitude left off the turbulent behavior they 
had indulged, and the suspicion they had of Moses, and commended what he 
had said; for those proposals were good, and were so esteemed of the people. 
At that time therefore they dissolved the assembly. But on the next day they 
came to the congregation, in order to be present at the sacrifice, and at the 
determination that was to be made between the candidates for the priesthood. 
Now this congregation proved a turbulent one, and the multitude were in great 
suspense in expectation of what was to be done; for some of them would have 
been pleased if Moses had been convicted of evil practices, but the wiser sort 
desired that they might be delivered from the present disorder and disturbance; 
for they were afraid, that if this sedition went on, the good order of their 
settlement would rather be destroyed; but the whole body of the people do 
naturally delight in clamors against their governors, and, by changing their 
opinions upon the harangues of every speaker, disturb the public tranquillity. 
And now Moses sent messengers for Abiram and Dathan, and ordered them to 
come to the assembly, and wait there for the holy offices that were to be 
performed. But they answered the messenger, that they would not obey his 
summons; nay, would not overlook Moses's behavior, who was growing too 
great for them by evil practices. Now when Moses heard of this their answer, 
he desired the heads of the people to follow him, and he went to the faction of 
Dathan, not thinking it any frightful thing at all to go to these insolent people; 



so they made no opposition, but went along with him. But Dathan, and his 
associates, when they understood that Moses and the principal of the people 
were coming to them, came out, with their wives and children, and stood before 
their tents, and looked to see what Moses would do. They had also their 
servants about them to defend themselves, in case Moses should use force 
against them. 

2. But he came near, and lifted up his hands to heaven, and cried out with a 
loud voice, in order to be heard by the whole multitude, and said, "O Lord of 
the creatures that are in the heaven, in the earth, and in the sea; for thou art the 
most authentic witness to what I have done, that it has all been done by thy 
appointment, and that it was thou that affordedst us assistance when we 
attempted any thing, and showedst mercy on the Hebrews in all their distresses; 
do thou come now, and hear all that I say, for no action or thought escapes thy 
knowledge; so that thou wilt not disdain to speak what is true, for my 
vindication, without any regard to the ungrateful imputations of these men. As 
for what was done before I was born, thou knowest best, as not learning them 
by report, but seeing them, and being present with them when they were done; 
but for what has been done of late, and which these men, although they know 
them well enough, unjustly pretend to suspect, be thou my witness. When I 
lived a private quiet life, I left those good things which, by my own diligence, 
and by thy counsel, I enjoyed with Raguel my father-in-law; and I gave myself 
up to this people, and underwent many miseries on their account. I also bore 
great labors at first, in order to obtain liberty for them, and now in order to their 
preservation; and have always showed myself ready to assist them in every 
distress of theirs. Now, therefore, since I am suspected by those very men 
whose being is owing to my labors, come thou, as it is reasonable to hope thou 
wilt; thou, I say, who showedst me that fire at mount Sinai, and madest me to 
hear its voice, and to see the several wonders which that place afforded thou 
who commandedst me to go to Egypt, and declare thy will to this people; thou 
who disturbest the happy estate of the Egyptians, and gavest us the opportunity 
of flying away from our slavery under them, and madest the dominion of 
Pharaoh inferior to my dominion; thou who didst make the sea dry land for us, 
when we knew not whither to go, and didst overwhelm the Egyptians with 
those destructive waves which had been divided for us; thou who didst bestow 
upon us the security of weapons when we were naked; thou who didst make the 
fountains that were corrupted to flow, so as to be fit for drinking, and didst 
furnish us with water that came out of the rocks, when we were in want of it; 
thou who didst preserve our lives with [quails, which was] food from the sea, 
when the fruits of the ground failed us; thou didst send us such food from 
heaven as had never been seen before; thou who didst suggest to us the 
knowledge of thy laws, and appoint to us a form of government, — come thou, I 



say, O Lord of the whole world, and that as such a Judge and a Witness to me 
as cannot be bribed, and show how I never admitted of any gift against justice 
from any of the Hebrews; and have never condemned a man that ought to have 
been acquitted, on account of one that was rich; and have never attempted to 
hurt this commonwealth. I am now here present, and am suspected of a thing 
the remotest from my intentions, as if I had given the priesthood to Aaron, not 
at thy command, but out of my own favor to him; do thou at this time 
demonstrate that all things are administered by thy providence and that nothing 
happens by chance, but is governed by thy will, and thereby attains its end: as 
also demonstrate that thou takest care of those that have done good to the 
Hebrews; demonstrate this, I say, by the punishment of Abiram and Dathan, 
who condemn thee as an insensible Being, and one overcome by my 
contrivances. This thou do by inflicting such an open punishment on these men 
who so madly fly in the face of thy glory, as will take them out of the world, 
not in an ordinary manner, but so that it may appear they do die after the 
manner of other men: let that ground which they tread upon open about them 
and consume them, with their families and goods. This will be a demonstration 
of thy power to all and this method of their sufferings will be an instruction of 
wisdom for those that entertain profane sentiments of thee. By this means I 
shall be a good servant, in the precepts thou hast given by me. But if the 
calumnies they have raised against me be true, mayst thou preserve these men 
from every evil accident, and bring all that destruction on me which I have 
imprecated upon them. And when thou hast inflicted punishment on those that 
have endeavored to deal unjustly with this people, bestow upon them concord 
and peace. Save this multitude that follow thy commandments, and preserve 
them free from harm, and let them not partake of the punishment of those that 
have sinned; for thou knowest thyself it is not just, that for the wickedness of 
those men the whole body of the Israelites should suffer punishment." 

3. When Moses had said this, with tears in his eyes, the ground was moved 
on a sudden; and the agitation that set it in motion was like that which the wind 
produces in waves of the sea. The people were all affrighted; and the ground 
that was about their tents sunk down at the great noise, with a terrible sound, 
and carried whatsoever was dear to the seditious into itself, who so entirely 
perished, that there was not the least appearance that any man had ever been 
seen there, the earth that had opened itself about them, closing again, and 
becoming entire as it was before, insomuch that such as saw it afterward did 
not perceive that any such accident had happened to it. Thus did these men 
perish, and become a demonstration of the power of God. And truly, any one 
would lament them, not only on account of this calamity that befell them, 
which yet deserves our commiseration, but also because their kindred were 
pleased with their sufferings; for they forgot the relation they bare to them, and 



at the sight of this sad accident approved of the judgment given against them; 
and because they looked upon the people about Dathan as pestilent men, they 
thought they perished as such, and did not grieve for them. 

4. And now Moses called for those that contended about the priesthood, that 
trial might be made who should be priest, and that he whose sacrifice God was 
best pleased with might be ordained to that function. There attended two 
hundred and fifty men, who indeed were honored by the people, not only on 
account of the power of their ancestors, but also on account of their own, in 
which they excelled the others: Aaron also and Corah came forth, and they all 
offered incense, in those censers of theirs which they brought with them, before 
the tabernacle. Hereupon so great a fire shone out as no one ever saw in any 
that is made by the hand of man, neither in those eruptions out of the earth that 
are caused by subterraneous burn-rags, nor in such fires as arise of their own 
accord in the woods, when the agitation is caused by the trees rubbing one 
against another: but this fire was very bright, and had a terrible flame, such as 
is kindled at the command of God; by whose irruption on them, all the 
company, and Corah himself, were destroyed, 2 and this so entirely, that their 
very bodies left no remains behind them. Aaron alone was preserved, and not at 
all hurt by the fire, because it was God that sent the fire to burn those only who 
ought to be burned. Hereupon Moses, after these men were destroyed, was 
desirous that the memory of this judgment might be delivered down to 
posterity, and that future ages might be acquainted with it; and so he 
commanded Eleazar, the son of Aaron, to put their censers near the brazen altar, 
that they might be a memorial to posterity of what these men suffered, for 
supposing that the power of God might be eluded. And thus Aaron was now no 
longer esteemed to have the priesthood by the favor of Moses, but by the public 
judgment of God; and thus he and his children peaceably enjoyed that honor 
afterward. 

CHAPTER 4 

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE HEBREWS DURING THIRTY-EIGHT YEARS 
IN THE WILDERNESS 



1. However, this sedition was so far from ceasing upon this destruction, that it 
grew much stronger, and became more intolerable. And the occasion of its 
growing worse was of that nature, as made it likely the calamity would never 
cease, but last for a long time; for the men, believing already that nothing is 
done without the providence of God, would have it that these things came thus 
to pass not without God's favor to Moses; they therefore laid the blame upon 



him that God was so angry, and that this happened not so much because of the 
wickedness of those that were punished, as because Moses procured the 
punishment; and that these men had been destroyed without any sin of theirs, 
only because they were zealous about the Divine worship; as also, that he who 
had been the cause of this diminution of the people, by destroying so many 
men, and those the most excellent of them all, besides his escaping any 
punishment himself, had now given the priesthood to his brother so firmly, that 
nobody could any longer dispute it with him; for no one else, to be sure, could 
now put in for it, since he must have seen those that first did so to have 
miserably perished. Nay, besides this, the kindred of those that were destroyed 
made great entreaties to the multitude to abate the arrogance of Moses, because 
it would be safest for them so to do. 

2. Now Moses, upon his hearing for a good while that the people were 
tumultuous, was afraid that they would attempt some other innovation, and that 
some great and sad calamity would be the consequence. He called the multitude 
to a congregation, and patiently heard what apology they had to make for 
themselves, without opposing them, and this lest he should imbitter the 
multitude: he only desired the heads of the tribes to bring their rods, 3 with the 
names of their tribes inscribed upon them, and that he should receive the 
priesthood in whose rod God should give a sign. This was agreed to. So the rest 
brought their rods, as did Aaron also, who had written the tribe of Levi on his 
rod. These rods Moses laid up in the tabernacle of God. On the next day he 
brought out the rods, which were known from one another by those who 
brought them, they having distinctly noted them, as had the multitude also; and 
as to the rest, in the same form Moses had received them, in that they saw them 
still; but they also saw buds and branches grown out of Aaron's rod, with ripe 
fruits upon them; they were almonds, the rod having been cut out of that tree. 
The people were so amazed at this strange sight, that though Moses and Aaron 
were before under some degree of hatred, they now laid that hatred aside, and 
began to admire the judgment of God concerning them; so that hereafter they 
applauded what God had decreed, and permitted Aaron to enjoy the priesthood 
peaceably. And thus God ordained him priest, three several times, and he 
retained that honor without further disturbance. And hereby this sedition of the 
Hebrews, which had been a great one, and had lasted a great while, was at last 
composed. 

3. And now Moses, because the tribe of Levi was made free from war and 
warlike expeditions, and was set apart for the Divine worship, lest they should 
want and seek after the necessaries of life, and so neglect the temple, 
commanded the Hebrews, according to the will of God, that when they should 
gain the possession of the land of Canaan, they should assign forty-eight good 
and fair cities to the Levites; and permit them to enjoy their suburbs, as far as 



the limit of two thousand cubits would extend from the walls of the city. And 
besides this, he appointed that the people should pay the tithe of their annual 
fruits of the earth, both to the Levites and to the priests. And this is what that 
tribe receives of the multitude; but I think it necessary to set down what is paid 
by all, peculiarly to the priests. 

4. Accordingly he commanded the Levites to yield up to the priests thirteen 
of their forty-eight cities, and to set apart for them the tenth part of the tithes 
which they every year receive of the people; as also, that it was but just to offer 
to God the first-fruits of the entire product of the ground; and that they should 
offer the first-born of those four-footed beasts that are appointed for sacrifices, 
if it be a male, to the priests, to be slain, that they and their entire families may 
eat them in the holy city; but that the owners of those first-born which are not 
appointed for sacrifices in the laws of our country, should bring a shekel and a 
half in their stead: but for the first-born of a man, five shekels: that they should 
also have the first-fruits out of the shearing of the sheep; and that when any 
baked bread corn, and made loaves of it, they should give somewhat of what 
they had baked to them. Moreover, when any have made a sacred vow, I mean 
those that are called Nazarites, that suffer their hair to grow long, and use no 
wine, when they consecrate their hair, 4 and offer it for a sacrifice, they are to 
allot that hair for the priests [to be thrown into the fire]. Such also as dedicate 
themselves to God, as a corban, which denotes what the Greeks call a gift, 
when they are desirous of being freed from that ministration, are to lay down 
money for the priests; thirty shekels if it be a woman, and fifty if it be a man; 
but if any be too poor to pay the appointed sum, it shall be lawful for the priests 
to determine that sum as they think fit. And if any slay beasts at home for a 
private festival, but not for a religious one, they are obliged to bring the maw 
and the cheek, [or breast,] and the right shoulder of the sacrifice, to the priests. 
With these Moses contrived that the priests should be plentifully maintained, 
besides what they had out of those offerings for sins which the people gave 
them, as I have set it down in the foregoing book. He also ordered, that out of 
every thing allotted for the priests, their servants, [their sons,] their daughters, 
and their wives, should partake, as well as themselves, excepting what came to 
them out of the sacrifices that were offered for sins; for of those none but the 
males of the family of the priests might eat, and this in the temple also, and that 
the same day they were offered. 

5. When Moses had made these constitutions, after the sedition was over, he 
removed, together with the whole army, and came to the borders of Idumea. He 
then sent ambassadors to the king of the Idumeans, and desired him to give him 
a passage through his country; and agreed to send him what hostages he should 
desire, to secure him from an injury. He desired him also, that he would allow 
his army liberty to buy provisions; and, if he insisted upon it, he would pay 



down a price for the very water they should drink. But the king was not pleased 
with this embassage from Moses: nor did he allow a passage for the army, but 
brought his people armed to meet Moses, and to hinder them, in case they 
should endeavor to force their passage. Upon which Moses consulted God by 
the oracle, who would not have him begin the war first; and so he withdrew his 
forces, and traveled round about through the wilderness. 

6. Then it was that Miriam, the sister of Moses, came to her end, having 
completed her fortieth year 5 since she left Egypt, on the first day 6 of the lunar 
month Xanthicus. They then made a public funeral for her, at a great expense. 
She was buried upon a certain mountain, which they call Sin: and when they 
had mourned for her thirty days, Moses purified the people after this manner: 
He brought a heifer that had never been used to the plough or to husbandry, that 
was complete in all its parts, and entirely of a red color, at a little distance from 
the camp, into a place perfectly clean. This heifer was slain by the high priest, 
and her blood sprinkled with his finger seven times before the tabernacle of 
God; after this, the entire heifer was burnt in that state, together with its skin 
and entrails; and they threw cedar-wood, and hyssop, and scarlet wool, into the 
midst of the fire; then a clean man gathered all her ashes together, and laid them 
in a place perfectly clean. When therefore any persons were defiled by a dead 
body, they put a little of these ashes into spring water, with hyssop, and, 
dipping part of these ashes in it, they sprinkled them with it, both on the third 
day, and on the seventh, and after that they were clean. This he enjoined them 
to do also when the tribes should come into their own land. 

7. Now when this purification, which their leader made upon the mourning 
for his sister, as it has been now described, was over, he caused the army to 
remove and to march through the wilderness and through Arabia; and when he 
came to a place which the Arabians esteem their metropolis, which was 
formerly called Arce, but has now the name of Petra, at this place, which was 
encompassed with high mountains, Aaron went up one of them in the sight of 
the whole army, Moses having before told him that he was to die, for this place 
was over against them. He put off his pontifical garments, and delivered them 
to Eleazar his son, to whom the high priesthood belonged, because he was the 
elder brother; and died while the multitude looked upon him. He died in the 
same year wherein he lost his sister, having lived in all a hundred twenty and 
three years. He died on the first day of that lunar month which is called by the 
Athenians Hecatomboeon, by the Macedonians Lous, but by the Hebrews 
Abba. 

CHAPTER 5 

HOW MOSES CONQUERED SIHON AND OG KINGS OF THE 



AMORITES, AND DESTROYED THEIR WHOLE ARMY AND THEN 
DIVIDED THEIR LAND BY LOT TO TWO TRIBES AND A HALF OF THE 
HEBREWS 



1. The people mourned for Aaron thirty days, and when this mourning was 
over, Moses removed the army from that place, and came to the river Arnon, 
which, issuing out of the mountains of Arabia, and running through all that 
wilderness, falls into the lake Asphaltitis, and becomes the limit between the 
land of the Moabites and the land of the Amorites. This land is fruitful, and 
sufficient to maintain a great number of men, with the good things it produces. 
Moses therefore sent messengers to Sihon, the king of this country, desiring 
that he would grant his army a passage, upon what security he should please to 
require; he promised that he should be no way injured, neither as to that 
country which Sihon governed, nor as to its inhabitants; and that he would buy 
his provisions at such a price as should be to their advantage, even though he 
should desire to sell them their very water. But Sihon refused his offer, and put 
his army into battle array, and was preparing every thing in order to hinder their 
passing over Arnon. 

2. When Moses saw that the Amorite king was disposed to enter upon 
hostilities with them, he thought he ought not to bear that insult; and, 
determining to wean the Hebrews from their indolent temper, and prevent the 
disorders which arose thence, which had been the occasion of their former 
sedition, (nor indeed were they now thoroughly easy in their minds,) he 
inquired of God, whether he would give him leave to fight? which when he had 
done, and God also promised him the victory, he was himself very courageous, 
and ready to proceed to fighting. Accordingly he encouraged the soldiers; and 
he desired of them that they would take the pleasure of fighting, now God gave 
them leave so to do. They then, upon the receipt of this permission, which they 
so much longed for, put on their whole armor, and set about the work without 
delay. But the Amorite king was not now like to himself when the Hebrews 
were ready to attack him; but both he himself was affrighted at the Hebrews, 
and his army, which before had showed themselves to be of good courage, were 
then found to be timorous: so they could not sustain the first onset, nor bear up 
against the Hebrews, but fled away, as thinking this would afford them a more 
likely way for their escape than fighting, for they depended upon their cities, 
which were strong, from which yet they reaped no advantage when they were 
forced to fly to them; for as soon as the Hebrews saw them giving ground, they 
immediately pursued them close; and when they had broken their ranks, they 
greatly terrified them, and some of them broke off from the rest, and ran away 
to the cities. Now the Hebrews pursued them briskly, and obstinately 
persevered in the labors they had already undergone; and being very skilful in 



slinging, and very dexterous in throwing of darts, or any thing else of that kind, 
and also having nothing but light armor, which made them quick in the pursuit, 
they overtook their enemies; and for those that were most remote, and could not 
be overtaken, they reached them by their slings and their bows, so that many 
were slain; and those that escaped the slaughter were sorely wounded, and 
these were more distressed with thirst than with any of those that fought against 
them, for it was the summer season; and when the greatest number of them 
were brought down to the river out of a desire to drink, as also when others fled 
away by troops, the Hebrews came round them, and shot at them; so that, what 
with darts and what with arrows, they made a slaughter of them all. Sihon their 
king was also slain. So the Hebrews spoiled the dead bodies, and took their 
prey. The land also which they took was full of abundance of fruits, and the 
army went all over it without fear, and fed their cattle upon it; and they took the 
enemies prisoners, for they could no way put a stop to them, since all the 
fighting men were destroyed. Such was the destruction which overtook the 
Amorites, who were neither sagacious in counsel, nor courageous in action. 
Hereupon the Hebrews took possession of their land, which is a country situate 
between three rivers, and naturally resembled an island: the river Arnon being 
its southern limit; the river Jabbok determining its northern side, which running 
into Jordan loses its own name, and takes the other; while Jordan itself runs 
along by it, on its western coast. 

3. When matters were come to this state, Og, the king of Gilead and 
Gaulanitis, fell upon the Israelites. He brought an army with him, and in haste 
to the assistance of his friend Sihon: but though he found him already slain, yet 
did he resolve still to come and fight the Hebrews, supposing he should be too 
hard for them, and being desirous to try their valor; but failing of his hope, he 
was both himself slain in the battle, and all his army was destroyed. So Moses 
passed over the river Jabbok, and overran the kingdom of Og. He overthrew 
their cities, and slew all their inhabitants, who yet exceeded in riches all the 
men in that part of the continent, on account of the goodness of the soil, and the 
great quantity of their wealth. Now Og had very few equals, either in the 
largeness of his body, or handsomeness of his appearance. He was also a man 
of great activity in the use of his hands, so that his actions were not unequal to 
the vast largeness and handsome appearance of his body. And men could easily 
guess at his strength and magnitude when they took his bed at Rabbath, the 
royal city of the Ammonites; its structure was of iron, its breadth four cubits, 
and its length a cubit more than double thereto. However, his fall did not only 
improve the circumstances of the Hebrews for the present, but by his death he 
was the occasion of further good success to them; for they presently took those 
sixty cities, which were encompassed with excellent walls, and had been 
subject to him, and all got both in general and in particular a great prey. 



CHAPTER 6 

CONCERNING BALAAM THE PROPHET AND WHAT KIND OF MAN HE 
WAS 

1. Now Moses, when he had brought his army to Jordan; pitched his camp in 
the great plain over against Jericho. This city is a very happy situation, and very 
fit for producing palm-trees and balsam. And now the Israelites began to be 
very proud of themselves, and were very eager for fighting. Moses then, after 
he had offered for a few days sacrifices of thanksgiving to God, and feasted the 
people, sent a party of armed men to lay waste the country of the Midianites, 
and to take their cities. Now the occasion which he took for making war upon 
them was this that follows: — 

2. When Balak, the king of the Moabites, who had from his ancestors a 
friendship and league with the Midianites, saw how great the Israelites were 
grown, he was much affrighted on account of his own and his kingdom's 
danger; for he was not acquainted with this, that the Hebrews would not meddle 
with any other country, but were to be contented with the possession of the land 
of Canaan, God having forbidden them to go any further. 7 So he, with more 
haste than wisdom, resolved to make an attempt upon them by words; but he 
did not judge it prudent to fight against them, after they had such prosperous 
successes, and even became out of ill successes more happy than before, but he 
thought to hinder them, if he could, from growing greater, and so he resolved to 
send ambassadors to the Midianites about them. Now these Midianites knowing 
there was one Balaam, who lived by Euphrates, and was the greatest of the 
prophets at that time, and one that was in friendship with them, sent some of 
their honorable princes along with the ambassadors of Balak, to entreat the 
prophet to come to them, that he might imprecate curses to the destruction of 
the Israelites. So Balaam received the ambassadors, and treated them very 
kindly; and when he had supped, he inquired what was God's will, and what 
this matter was for which the Midianites entreated him to come to them. But 
when God opposed his going, he came to the ambassadors, and told them that 
he was himself very willing and desirous to comply with their request, but 
informed them that God was opposite to his intentions, even that God who had 
raised him to great reputation on account of the truth of his predictions; for that 
this army, which they entreated him to come and curse, was in the favor of 
God; on which account he advised them to go home again, and not to persist in 
their enmity against the Israelites; and when he had given them that answer, he 
dismissed the ambassadors. 

3. Now the Midianites, at the earnest request and fervent entreaties of 
Balak, sent other ambassadors to Balaam, who, desiring to gratify the men, 



inquired again of God; but he was displeased at [second] trial, 8 and bid him by 
no means to contradict the ambassadors. Now Balaam did not imagine that God 
gave this injunction in order to deceive him, so he went along with the 
ambassadors; but when the divine angel met him in the way, when he was in a 
narrow passage, and hedged in with a wall on both sides, the ass on which 
Balaam rode understood that it was a divine spirit that met him, and thrust 
Balaam to one of the walls, without regard to the stripes which Balaam, when 
he was hurt by the wall, gave her; but when the ass, upon the angel's continuing 
to distress her, and upon the stripes which were given her, fell down, by the will 
of God, she made use of the voice of a man, and complained of Balaam as 
acting unjustly to her; that whereas he had no fault find with her in her former 
service to him, he now inflicted stripes upon her, as not understanding that she 
was hindered from serving him in what he was now going about, by the 
providence of God. And when he was disturbed by reason of the voice of the 
ass, which was that of a man, the angel plainly appeared to him, and blamed 
him for the stripes he had given his ass; and informed him that the brute 
creature was not in fault, but that he was himself come to obstruct his journey, 
as being contrary to the will of God. Upon which Balaam was afraid, and was 
preparing to return back again: yet did God excite him to go on his intended 
journey, but added this injunction, that he should declare nothing but what he 
himself should suggest to his mind. 

4. When God had given him this charge, he came to Balak; and when the 
king had entertained him in a magnificent manner, he desired him to go to one 
of the mountains to take a view of the state of the camp of the Hebrews. Balak 
himself also came to the mountain, and brought the prophet along with him, 
with a royal attendance. This mountain lay over their heads, and was distant 
sixty furlongs from the camp. Now when he saw them, he desired the king to 
build him seven altars, and to bring him as many bulls and rams; to which 
desire the king did presently conform. He then slew the sacrifices, and offered 
them as burnt-offerings, that he might observe some signal of the flight of the 
Hebrews. Then said he, "Happy is this people, on whom God bestows the 
possession of innumerable good things, and grants them his own providence to 
be their assistant and their guide; so that there is not any nation among mankind 
but you will be esteemed superior to them in virtue, and in the earnest 
prosecution of the best rules of life, and of such as are pure from wickedness, 
and will leave those rules to your excellent children; and this out of the regard 
that God bears to you, and the provision of such things for you as may render 
you happier than any other people under the sun. You shall retain that land to 
which he hath sent you, and it shall ever be under the command of your 
children; and both all the earth, as well as the seas, shall be filled with your 
glory: and you shall be sufficiently numerous to supply the world in general, 



and every region of it in particular, with inhabitants out of your stock. 
However, O blessed army! wonder that you are become so many from one 
father: and truly, the land of Canaan can now hold you, as being yet 
comparatively few; but know ye that the whole world is proposed to be your 
place of habitation for ever. The multitude of your posterity also shall live as 
well in the islands as on the continent, and that more in number than are the 
stars of heaven. And when you are become so many, God will not relinquish the 
care of you, but will afford you an abundance of all good things in times of 
peace, with victory and dominion in times of war. May the children of your 
enemies have an inclination to fight against you; and may they be so hardy as 
to come to arms, and to assault you in battle, for they will not return with 
victory, nor will their return be agreeable to their children and wives. To so 
great a degree of valor will you be raised by the providence of God, who is able 
to diminish the affluence of some, and to supply the wants of others." 

5. Thus did Balaam speak by inspiration, as not being in his own power, but 
moved to say what he did by the Divine Spirit. But then Balak was displeased, 
and said he had broken the contract he had made, whereby he was to come, as 
he and his confederates had invited him, by the promise of great presents: for 
whereas he came to curse their enemies, he had made an encomium upon them, 
and had declared that they were the happiest of men. To which Balaam replied, 
"O Balak, if thou rightly considerest this whole matter, canst thou suppose that 
it is in our power to be silent, or to say any thing, when the Spirit of God seizes 
upon us? — for he puts such words as he pleases in our mouths, and such 
discourses as we are not ourselves conscious of. I well remember by what 
entreaties both you and the Midianites so joyfully brought me hither, and on 
that account I took this journey. It was my prayer, that I might not put any 
affront upon you, as to what you desired of me; but God is more powerful than 
the purposes I had made to serve you; for those that take upon them to foretell 
the affairs of mankind, as from their own abilities, are entirely unable to do it, 
or to forbear to utter what God suggests to them, or to offer violence to his will; 
for when he prevents us and enters into us, nothing that we say is our own. I 
then did not intend to praise this army, nor to go over the several good things 
which God intended to do to their race; but since he was so favorable to them, 
and so ready to bestow upon them a happy life and eternal glory, he suggested 
the declaration of those things to me: but now, because it is my desire to oblige 
thee thyself, as well as the Midianites, whose entreaties it is not decent for me 
to reject, go to, let us again rear other altars, and offer the like sacrifices that we 
did before, that I may see whether I can persuade God to permit me to bind 
these men with curses." Which, when Balak had agreed to, God would not, 
even upon second sacrifices, consent to his cursing the Israelites. 9 Then fell 
Balaam upon his face, and foretold what calamities would befall the several 



kings of the nations, and the most eminent cities, some of which of old were 
not so much as inhabited; which events have come to pass among the several 
people concerned, both in the foregoing ages, and in this, till my own memory, 
both by sea and by land. From which completion of all these predictions that he 
made, one may easily guess that the rest will have their completion in time to 
come. 

6. But Balak being very angry that the Israelites were not cursed, sent away 
Balaam without thinking him worthy of any honor. Whereupon, when he was 
just upon his journey, in order to pass the Euphrates, he sent for Balak, and for 
the princes of the Midianites, and spake thus to them: — "O Balak, and you 
Midianites that are here present, (for I am obliged even without the will of God 
to gratify you,) it is true no entire destruction can seize upon the nation of the 
Hebrews, neither by war, nor by plague, nor by scarcity of the fruits of the 
earth, nor can any other unexpected accident be their entire ruin; for the 
providence of God is concerned to preserve them from such a misfortune; nor 
will it permit any such calamity to come upon them whereby they may all 
perish; but some small misfortunes, and those for a short time, whereby they 
may appear to be brought low, may still befall them; but after that they will 
flourish again, to the terror of those that brought those mischiefs upon them. So 
that if you have a mind to gain a victory over them for a short space of time, 
you will obtain it by following my directions: — Do you therefore set out the 
handsomest of such of your daughters as are most eminent for beauty, 10 and 
proper to force and conquer the modesty of those that behold them, and these 
decked and trimmed to the highest degree able. Then do you send them to be 
near camp, and give them in charge, that the young men of the Hebrews desire 
their company, allow it them; and when they see they are enamored of them, let 
them take leaves; and if they entreat them to stay, let them not give their 
consent till they have persuaded them to leave off their obedience to their own 
laws and the worship of that God who established them, and to worship the 
gods of the Midianites and Moabites; for by this means God will be angry at 
them." 11 Accordingly, when Balaam had suggested counsel to them, he went his 
way. 

7. So when the Midianites had sent their daughters, as Balaam had exhorted 
them, the Hebrew men were allured by their beauty, and came with them, and 
besought them not to grudge them the enjoyment of their beauty, nor to deny 
them their conversation. These daughters of Midianites received their words 
gladly, and consented to it, and staid with them; but when they brought them to 
be enamored of them, and their inclinations to them were grown to ripeness, 
they began to think of departing from them: then it was that these men became 
greatly disconsolate at the women's departure, and they were urgent with them 
not to leave them, but begged they would continue there, and become their 



wives; and they promised them they should be owned as mistresses all they 
had. This they said with an oath, and called God for the arbitrator of what they 
promised; and this with tears in their eyes, and all such marks of concern, as 
might shew how miserable they thought themselves without them, and so might 
move their compassion for them. So the women, as soon as they perceived they 
had made them their slaves, and had caught them with their conservation began 
to speak thus to them: — 

8. "O you illustrious young men! we have houses of our own at home, and 
great plenty of good things there, together with the natural affectionate love of 
our parents and friends; nor is it out of our want of any such things that we 
came to discourse with you; nor did we admit of your invitation with design to 
prostitute the beauty of our bodies for gain; but taking you for brave and 
worthy men, we agreed to your request, that we might treat you with such 
honors as hospitality required: and now seeing you say that you have a great 
affection for us, and are troubled when you think we are departing, we are not 
averse to your entreaties; and if we may receive such assurance of your good- 
will as we think can be alone sufficient, we will be glad to lead our lives with 
you as your wives; but we are afraid that you will in time be weary of our 
company, and will then abuse us, and send us back to our parents, after an 
ignominious manner." And they desired that they would excuse them in their 
guarding against that danger. But the young men professed they would give 
them any assurance they should desire; nor did they at all contradict what they 
requested, so great was the passion they had for them. "If then," said they, "this 
be your resolution, since you make use of such customs and conduct of life as 
are entirely different from all other men, 12 insomuch that your kinds of food are 
peculiar to yourselves, and your kinds of drink not common to others, it will be 
absolutely necessary, if you would have us for your wives, that you do withal 
worship our gods. Nor can there be any other demonstration of the kindness 
which you say you already have, and promise to have hereafter to us, than this, 
that you worship the same gods that we do. For has any one reason to 
complain, that now you are come into this country, you should worship the 
proper gods of the same country? especially while our gods are common to all 
men, and yours such as belong to nobody else but yourselves." So they said 
they must either come into such methods of divine worship as all others came 
into, or else they must look out for another world, wherein they may live by 
themselves, according to their own laws. 

9. Now the young men were induced by the fondness they had for these 
women to think they spake very well; so they gave themselves up to what they 
persuaded them, and transgressed their own laws, and supposing there were 
many gods, and resolving that they would sacrifice to them according to the 
laws of that country which ordained them, they both were delighted with their 



strange food, and went on to do every thing that the women would have them 
do, though in contradiction to their own laws; so far indeed that this 
transgression was already gone through the whole army of the young men, and 
they fell into a sedition that was much worse than the former, and into danger 
of the entire abolition of their own institutions; for when once the youth had 
tasted of these strange customs, they went with insatiable inclinations into 
them; and even where some of the principal men were illustrious on account of 
the virtues of their fathers, they also were corrupted together with the rest. 

10. Even Zimri, the head of the tribe of Simeon accompanied with Cozbi, a 
Midianitish woman, who was the daughter of Sur, a man of authority in that 
country; and being desired by his wife to disregard the laws of Moses, and to 
follow those she was used to, he complied with her, and this both by sacrificing 
after a manner different from his own, and by taking a stranger to wife. When 
things were thus, Moses was afraid that matters should grow worse, and called 
the people to a congregation, but then accused nobody by name, as unwilling to 
drive those into despair who, by lying concealed, might come to repentance; 
but he said that they did not do what was either worthy of themselves, or of 
their fathers, by preferring pleasure to God, and to the living according to his 
will; that it was fit they should change their courses while their affairs were still 
in a good state, and think that to be true fortitude which offers not violence to 
their laws, but that which resists their lusts. And besides that, he said it was not 
a reasonable thing, when they had lived soberly in the wilderness, to act madly 
now when they were in prosperity; and that they ought not to lose, now they 
have abundance, what they had gained when they had little: — and so did he 
endeavor, by saying this, to correct the young inert, and to bring them to 
repentance for what they had done. 

11. But Zimri arose up after him, and said, "Yes, indeed, Moses, thou art at 
liberty to make use of such laws as thou art so fond of, and hast, by 
accustoming thyself to them, made them firm; otherwise, if things had not been 
thus, thou hadst often been punished before now, and hadst known that the 
Hebrews are not easily put upon; but thou shalt not have me one of thy 
followers in thy tyrannical commands, for thou dost nothing else hitherto, but, 
under pretence of laws, and of God, wickedly impose on us slavery, and gain 
dominion to thyself, while thou deprivest us of the sweetness of life, which 
consists in acting according to our own wills, and is the right of free-men, and 
of those that have no lord over them. Nay, indeed, this man is harder upon the 
Hebrews then were the Egyptians themselves, as pretending to punish, 
according to his laws, every one's acting what is most agreeable to himself; but 
thou thyself better deservest to suffer punishment, who presumest to abolish 
what every one acknowledges to be what is good for him, and aimest to make 
thy single opinion to have more force than that of all the rest; and what I now 



do, and think to be right, I shall not hereafter deny to be according to my own 
sentiments. I have married, as thou sayest rightly, a strange woman, and thou 
hearest what I do from myself as from one that is free, for truly I did not intend 
to conceal myself. I also own that I sacrificed to those gods to whom you do 
not think it fit to sacrifice; and I think it right to come at truth by inquiring of 
many people, and not like one that lives under tyranny, to suffer the whole hope 
of my life to depend upon one man; nor shall any one find cause to rejoice who 
declares himself to have more authority over my actions than myself." 

12. Now when Zimri had said these things, about what he and some others 
had wickedly done, the people held their peace, both out of fear of what might 
come upon them, and because they saw that their legislator was not willing to 
bring his insolence before the public any further, or openly to contend with 
him; for he avoided that, lest many should imitate the impudence of his 
language, and thereby disturb the multitude. Upon this the assembly was 
dissolved. However, the mischievous attempt had proceeded further, if Zimri 
had not been first slain, which came to pass on the following occasion: — 
Phineas, a man in other respects better than the rest of the young men, and also 
one that surpassed his contemporaries in the dignity of his father, (for he was 
the son of Eleazar the high priest, and the grandson of [Aaron] Moses's 
brother,) who was greatly troubled at what was done by Zimri, he resolved in 
earnest to inflict punishment on him, before his unworthy behavior should grow 
stronger by impunity, and in order to prevent this transgression from 
proceeding further, which would happen if the ringleaders were not punished. 
He was of so great magnanimity, both in strength of mind and body, that when 
he undertook any very dangerous attempt, he did not leave it off till he 
overcame it, and got an entire victory. So he came into Zimri's tent, and slew 
him with his javelin, and with it he slew Cozbi also, upon which all those 
young men that had a regard to virtue, and aimed to do a glorious action, 
imitated Phineas's boldness, and slew those that were found to be guilty of the 
same crime with Zimri. Accordingly many of those that had transgressed 
perished by the magnanimous valor of these young men; and the rest all 
perished by a plague, which distemper God himself inflicted upon them; so that 
all those their kindred, who, instead of hindering them from such wicked 
actions, as they ought to have done, had persuaded them to go on, were 
esteemed by God as partners in their wickedness, and died. Accordingly there 
perished out of the army no fewer than fourteen 13 [twenty-four] thousand at this 
time. 

13. This was the cause why Moses was provoked to send an army to 
destroy the Midianites, concerning which expedition we shall speak presently, 
when we have first related what we have omitted; for it is but just not to pass 
over our legislator's due encomium, on account of his conduct here, because, 



although this Balaam, who was sent for by the Midianites to curse the Hebrews, 
and when he was hindered from doing it by Divine Providence, did still suggest 
that advice to them, by making use of which our enemies had well nigh 
corrupted the whole multitude of the Hebrews with their wiles, till some of 
them were deeply infected with their opinions; yet did he do him great honor, 
by setting down his prophecies in writing. And while it was in his power to 
claim this glory to himself, and make men believe they were his own 
predictions, there being no one that could be a witness against him, and accuse 
him for so doing, he still gave his attestation to him, and did him the honor to 
make mention of him on this account. But let every one think of these matters 
as he pleases. 

CHAPTER 7 

HOW THE HEBREWS FOUGHT WITH THE MIDIANITES, AND 
OVERCAME THEM 



1. Now Moses sent an army against the land of Midian, for the causes 
forementioned, in all twelve thousand, taking an equal number out of every 
tribe, and appointed Phineas for their commander; of which Phineas we made 
mention a little before, as he that had guarded the laws of the Hebrews, and had 
inflicted punishment on Zimri when he had transgressed them. Now the 
Midianites perceived beforehand how the Hebrews were coming, and would 
suddenly be upon them: so they assembled their army together, and fortified the 
entrances into their country, and there awaited the enemy's coming. When they 
were come, and they had joined battle with them, an immense multitude of the 
Midianites fell; nor could they be numbered, they were so very many: and 
among them fell all their kings, five in number, viz. Evi, Zur, Reba, Hur, and 
Rekem, who was of the same name with a city, the chief and capital of all 
Arabia, which is still now so called by the whole Arabian nation, Arecem, from 
the name of the king that built it; but is by the Greeks called Petra. Now when 
the enemies were discomfited, the Hebrews spoiled their country, and took a 
great prey, and destroyed the men that were its inhabitants, together with the 
women; only they let the virgins alone, as Moses had commanded Phineas to 
do, who indeed came back, bringing with him an army that had received no 
harm, and a great deal of prey; fifty-two thousand beeves, seventy-five 
thousand six hundred sheep, sixty thousand asses, with an immense quantity of 
gold and silver furniture, which the Midianites made use of in their houses; for 
they were so wealthy, that they were very luxurious. There were also led 
captive about thirty-two thousand virgins. 14 So Moses parted the prey into parts, 



and gave one fiftieth part to Eleazar and the two priests, and another fiftieth 
part to the Levites; and distributed the rest of the prey among the people. After 
which they lived happily, as having obtained an abundance of good things by 
their valor, and there being no misfortune that attended them, or hindered their 
enjoyment of that happiness. 

2. But Moses was now grown old, and appointed Joshua for his successor, 
both to receive directions from God as a prophet, and for a commander of the 
army, if they should at any time stand in need of such a one; and this was done 
by the command of God, that to him the care of the public should be 
committed. Now Joshua had been instructed in all those kinds of learning 
which concerned the laws and God himself, and Moses had been his instructor. 

3. At this time it was that the two tribes of Gad and Reuben, and the half 
tribe of Manas seh, abounded in a multitude of cattle, as well as in all other 
kinds of prosperity; whence they had a meeting, and in a body came and 
besought Moses to give them, as their peculiar portion, that land of the 
Amorites which they had taken by right of war, because it was fruitful, and 
good for feeding of cattle; but Moses, supposing that they were afraid of 
fighting with the Canaanites, and invented this provision for their cattle as a 
handsome excuse for avoiding that war, he called them arrant cowards, and said 
they had only contrived a decent excuse for that cowardice; and that they had a 
mind to live in luxury and ease, while all the rest were laboring with great pains 
to obtain the land they were desirous to have; and that they were not willing to 
march along, and undergo the remaining hard service, whereby they were, 
under the Divine promise, to pass over Jordan, and overcome those our enemies 
which God had shown them, and so obtain their land. But these tribes, when 
they saw that Moses was angry with them, and when they could not deny but he 
had a just cause to be displeased at their petition, made an apology for 
themselves; and said, that it was not on account of their fear of dangers, nor on 
account of their laziness, that they made this request to him, but that they might 
leave the prey they had gotten in places of safety, and thereby might be more 
expedite, and ready to undergo difficulties, and to fight battles. They added this 
also, that when they had built cities, wherein they might preserve their children, 
and wives, and possessions, if he would bestow them upon them, they would go 
along with the rest of the army. Hereupon Moses was pleased with what they 
said; so he called for Eleazar the high priest, and Joshua, and the chief of the 
tribes, and permitted these tribes to possess the land of the Amorites; but upon 
this condition, that they should join with their kinsmen in the war until all 
things were settled. Upon which condition they took possession of the country, 
and built them strong cities, and put into them their children and their wives, 
and whatsoever else they had that might be an impediment to the labors of their 
future marches. 



4. Moses also now built those ten cities which were to be of the number of 
the forty-eight [for the Levites;]; three of which he allotted to those that slew 
any person involuntarily, and fled to them; and he assigned the same time for 
their banishment with that of the life of that high priest under whom the 
slaughter and flight happened; after which death of the high priest he permitted 
the slayer to return home. During the time of his exile, the relations of him that 
was slain may, by this law, kill the manslayer, if they caught him without the 
bounds of the city to which he fled, though this permission was not granted to 
any other person. Now the cities which were set apart for this flight were these: 
Bezer, at the borders of Arabia; Ramoth, of the land of Gilead; and Golan, in 
the land of Bashan. There were to be also, by Moses's command, three other 
cities allotted for the habitation of these fugitives out of the cities of the 
Levites, but not till after they should be in possession of the land of Canaan. 

5. At this time the chief men of the tribe of Manasseh came to Moses, and 
informed him that there was an eminent man of their tribe dead, whose name 
was Zelophehad, who left no male children, but left daughters; and asked him 
whether these daughters might inherit his land or not. He made this answer, 
That if they shall marry into their own tribe, they shall carry their estate along 
with them; but if they dispose of themselves in marriage to men of another 
tribe, they shall leave their inheritance in their father's tribe. And then it was 
that Moses ordained, that every one's inheritance should continue in his own 
tribe. 

CHAPTER 8 

THE POLITY SETTLED BY MOSES; AND HOW HE DISAPPEARED 
FROM AMONG MANKIND 



1. When forty years were completed, within thirty days, Moses gathered the 
congregation together near Jordan, where the city Abila now stands, a place full 
of palm-trees; and all the people being come together, he spake thus to them: — 
2. "O you Israelites and fellow soldiers, who have been partners with me in 
this long and uneasy journey; since it is now the will of God, and the course of 
old age, at a hundred and twenty, requires it that I should depart out of this life; 
and since God has forbidden me to be a patron or an assistant to you in what 
remains to be done beyond Jordan; I thought it reasonable not to leave off my 
endeavors even now for your happiness, but to do my utmost to procure for you 
the eternal enjoyment of good things, and a memorial for myself, when you 
shall be in the fruition of great plenty and prosperity. Come, therefore, let me 
suggest to you by what means you may he happy, and may leave an eternal 



prosperous possession thereof to your children after you, and then let me thus 
go out of the world; and I cannot but deserve to be believed by you, both on 
account of the great things I have already done for you, and because, when 
souls are about to leave the body, they speak with the sincerest freedom. O 
children of Israel! there is but one source of happiness for all mankind, the 
favor of God; 15 for he alone is able to give good things to those that deserve 
them, and to deprive those of them that sin against him; towards whom, if you 
behave yourselves according to his will, and according to what I, who well 
understand his mind, do exhort you to, you will both be esteemed blessed, and 
will be admired by all men; and will never come into misfortunes, nor cease to 
be happy: you will then preserve the possession of the good things you already 
have, and will quickly obtain those that you are at present in want of, — only do 
you be obedient to those whom God would have you to follow. Nor do you 
prefer any other constitution of government before the laws now given you; 
neither do you disregard that way of Divine worship which you now have, nor 
change it for any other form: and if you do this, you will be the most 
courageous of all men, in undergoing the fatigues of war, and will not be easily 
conquered by any of your enemies; for while God is present with you to assist 
you, it is to be expected that you will be able to despise the opposition of all 
mankind; and great rewards of virtue are proposed for you, if you preserve that 
virtue through your whole lives. Virtue itself is indeed the principal and the first 
reward, and after that it bestows abundance of others; so that your exercise of 
virtue towards other men will make your own lives happy, and render you more 
glorious than foreigners can be, and procure you an undisputed reputation with 
posterity. These blessings you will be able to obtain, in case you hearken to and 
observe those laws which, by Divine revelation, I have ordained for you; that 
is, in case you withal meditate upon the wisdom that is in them. I am going 
from you myself, rejoicing in the good things you enjoy; and I recommend you 
to the wise conduct of your law, to the becoming order of your polity, and to the 
virtues of your commanders, who will take care of what is for your advantage. 
And that God, who has been till now your Leader, and by whose goodwill I 
have myself been useful to you, will not put a period now to his providence 
over you, but as long as you desire to have him your Protector in your pursuits 
after virtue, so long will you enjoy his care over you. Your high priest also 
Eleazar, as well as Joshua, with the senate, and chief of your tribes, will go 
before you, and suggest the best advices to you; by following which advices 
you will continue to be happy: to whom do you give ear without reluctance, as 
sensible that all such as know well how to be governed, will also know how to 
govern, if they be promoted to that authority themselves. And do not you 
esteem liberty to consist in opposing such directions as your governors think fit 
to give you for your practice, — as at present indeed you place your liberty in 



nothing else but abusing your benefactors; which error if you can avoid for the 
time to come, your affairs will be in a better condition than they have hitherto 
been. Nor do you ever indulge such a degree of passion in these matters, as you 
have oftentimes done when you have been very angry at me; for you know that 
I have been oftener in danger of death from you than from our enemies. What I 
now put you in mind of, is not done in order to reproach you; for I do not think 
it proper, now I am going out of the world, to bring this to your remembrance, 
in order to leave you offended at me, since, at the time when I underwent those 
hardships from you, I was not angry at you; but I do it in order to make you 
wiser hereafter, and to teach you that this will be for your security; I mean, that 
you never be injurious to those that preside over you, even when you are 
become rich, as you will he to a great degree when you have passed over 
Jordan, and are in possession of the land of Canaan. Since, when you shall have 
once proceeded so far by your wealth, as to a contempt and disregard of virtue, 
you will also forfeit the favor of God; and when you have made him your 
enemy, you will be beaten in war, and will have the land which you possess 
taken away again from you by your enemies, and this with great reproaches 
upon your conduct. You will be scattered over the whole world, and will, as 
slaves, entirely fill both sea and land; and when once you have had the 
experience of what I now say, you will repent, and remember the laws you have 
broken, when it is too late. Whence I would advise you, if you intend to 
preserve these laws, to leave none of your enemies alive when you have 
conquered them, but to look upon it as for your advantage to destroy them all, 
lest, if you permit them to live, you taste of their manners, and thereby corrupt 
your own proper institutions. I also do further exhort you, to overthrow their 
altars, and their groves, and whatsoever temples they have among them, and to 
burn all such, their nation, and their very memory with fire; for by this means 
alone the safety of your own happy constitution can be firmly secured to you. 
And in order to prevent your ignorance of virtue, and the degeneracy of your 
nature into vice, I have also ordained you laws, by Divine suggestion, and a 
form of government, which are so good, that if you regularly observe them, you 
will be esteemed of all men the most happy." 

3. When he had spoken thus, he gave them the laws and the constitution of 
government written in a book. Upon which the people fell into tears, and 
appeared already touched with the sense that they should have a great want of 
their conductor, because they remembered what a number of dangers he had 
passed through, and what care he had taken of their preservation: they 
desponded about what would come upon them after he was dead, and thought 
they should never have another governor like him; and feared that God would 
then take less care of them when Moses was gone, who used to intercede for 
them. They also repented of what they had said to him in the wilderness when 



they were angry, and were in grief on those accounts, insomuch that the whole 
body of the people fell into tears with such bitterness, that it was past the power 
of words to comfort them in their affliction. However, Moses gave them some 
consolation; and by calling them off the thought how worthy he was of their 
weeping for him, he exhorted them to keep to that form of government he had 
given them; and then the congregation was dissolved at that time. 

4. Accordingly, I shall now first describe this form of government which 
was agreeable to the dignity and virtue of Moses; and shall thereby inform 
those that read these Antiquities, what our original settlements were, and shall 
then proceed to the remaining histories. Now those settlements are all still in 
writing, as he left them; and we shall add nothing by way of ornament, nor any 
thing besides what Moses left us; only we shall so far innovate, as to digest the 
several kinds of laws into a regular system; for they were by him left in writing 
as they were accidentally scattered in their delivery, and as he upon inquiry had 
learned them of God. On which account I have thought it necessary to premise 
this observation beforehand, lest any of my own countrymen should blame me, 
as having been guilty of an offense herein. Now part of our constitution will 
include the laws that belong to our political state. As for those laws which 
Moses left concerning our common conversation and intercourse one with 
another, I have reserved that for a discourse concerning our manner of life, and 
the occasions of those laws; which I propose to myself, with God's assistance, 
to write, after I have finished the work I am now upon. 

5. When you have possessed yourselves of the land of Canaan, and have 
leisure to enjoy the good things of it, and when you have afterward determined 
to build cities, if you will do what is pleasing to God, you will have a secure 
state of happiness. Let there be then one city of the land of Canaan, and this 
situate in the most agreeable place for its goodness, and very eminent in itself, 
and let it be that which God shall choose for himself by prophetic revelation. 
Let there also be one temple therein, and one altar, not reared of hewn stones, 
but of such as you gather together at random; which stones, when they are 
whited over with mortar, will have a handsome appearance, and be beautiful to 
the sight. Let the ascent to it be not by steps, 16 but by an acclivity of raised 
earth. And let there be neither an altar nor a temple in any other city; for God is 
but one, and the nation of the Hebrews is but one. 

6. He that blasphemeth God, let him be stoned; and let him hang upon a tree 
all that day, and then let him be buried in an ignominious and obscure manner. 

7. Let those that live as remote as the bounds of the land which the 
Hebrews shall possess, come to that city where the temple shall be, and this 
three times in a year, that they may give thanks to God for his former benefits, 
and may entreat him for those they shall want hereafter; and let them, by this 
means, maintain a friendly correspondence with one another by such meetings 



and feastings together, for it is a good thing for those that are of the same stock, 
and under the same institution of laws, not to be unacquainted with each other; 
which acquaintance will be maintained by thus conversing together, and by 
seeing and talking with one another, and so renewing the memorials of this 
union; for if they do not thus converse together continually, they will appear 
like mere strangers to one another. 

8. Let there be taken out of your fruits a tenth, besides that which you have 
allotted to give to the priests and Levites. This you may indeed sell in the 
country, but it is to be used in those feasts and sacrifices that are to be 
celebrated in the holy city; for it is fit that you should enjoy those fruits of the 
earth which God gives you to possess, so as may be to the honor of the donor. 

9. You are not to offer sacrifices out of the hire of a woman who is a 
harlot, 17 for the Deity is not pleased with any thing that arises from such abuses 
of nature; of which sort none can be worse than this prostitution of the body. In 
like manner no one may take the price of the covering of a bitch, either of one 
that is used in hunting, or in keeping of sheep, and thence sacrifice to God. 

10. Let no one blaspheme those gods which other cities esteem such; 18 nor 
may any one steal what belongs to strange temples, nor take away the gifts that 
are dedicated to any god. 

11. Let not any one of you wear a garment made of woolen and linen, for 
that is appointed to be for the priests alone. 

12. When the multitude are assembled together unto the holy city for 
sacrificing every seventh year, at the feast of tabernacles, let the high priest 
stand upon a high desk, whence he may be heard, and let him read the laws to 
all the people; 19 and let neither the women nor the children be hindered from 
hearing, no, nor the servants neither; for it is a good thing that those laws 
should be engraven in their souls, and preserved in their memories, that so it 
may not be possible to blot them out; for by this means they will not be guilty 
of sin, when they cannot plead ignorance of what the laws have enjoined them. 
The laws also will have a greater authority among them, as foretelling what 
they will suffer if they break them; and imprinting in their souls by this hearing 
what they command them to do, that so there may always be within their minds 
that intention of the laws which they have despised and broken, and have 
thereby been the causes of their own mischief. Let the children also learn the 
laws, as the first thing they are taught, which will be the best thing they can be 
taught, and will be the cause of their future felicity. 

13. Let every one commemorate before God the benefits which he 
bestowed upon them at their deliverance out of the land of Egypt, and this 
twice every day, both when the day begins and when the hour of sleep comes 
on, gratitude being in its own nature a just thing, and serving not only by way 
of return for past, but also by way of invitation of future favors. They are also 



to inscribe the principal blessings they have received from God upon their 
doors, and show the same remembrance of them upon their arms; as also they 
are to bear on their forehead and their arm those wonders which declare the 
power of God, and his good- will towards them, that God's readiness to bless 
them may appear every where conspicuous about them. 20 

14. Let there be seven men to judge in every city, 21 and these such as have 
been before most zealous in the exercise of virtue and righteousness. Let every 
judge have two officers allotted him out of the tribe of Levi. Let those that are 
chosen to judge in the several cities be had in great honor; and let none be 
permitted to revile any others when these are present, nor to carry themselves in 
an insolent manner to them; it being natural that reverence towards those in 
high offices among men should procure men's fear and reverence towards God. 
Let those that judge be permitted to determine according as they think to be 
right, unless any one can show that they have taken bribes, to the perversion of 
justice, or can allege any other accusation against them, whereby it may appear 
that they have passed an unjust sentence; for it is not fit that causes should be 
openly determined out of regard to gain, or to the dignity of the suitors, but that 
the judges should esteem what is right before all other things, otherwise God 
will by that means be despised, and esteemed inferior to those, the dread of 
whose power has occasioned the unjust sentence; for justice is the power of 
God. He therefore that gratifies those in great dignity, supposes them more 
potent than God himself. But if these judges be unable to give a just sentence 
about the causes that come before them, (which case is not unfrequent in 
human affairs,) let them send the cause undetermined to the holy city, and there 
let the high priest, the prophet, and the sanhedrim, determine as it shall seem 
good to them. 

15. But let not a single witness be credited, but three, or two at the least, 
and those such whose testimony is confirmed by their good lives. But let not 
the testimony of women be admitted, on account of the levity and boldness of 
their sex: 22 nor let servants be admitted to give testimony, on account of the 
ignobility of their soul; since it is probable that they may not speak truth, either 
out of hope of gain, or fear of punishment. But if any one be believed to have 
borne false witness, let him, when he is convicted, suffer all the very same 
punishments which he against whom he bore witness was to have suffered. 

16. If a murder be committed in any place, and he that did it be not found, 
nor is there any suspicion upon one as if he had hated the man, and so had 
killed him, let there be a very diligent inquiry made after the man, and rewards 
proposed to any one who will discover him; but if still no information can be 
procured, let the magistrates and senate of those cities that lie near the place in 
which the murder was committed, assemble together, and measure the distance 
from the place where the dead body lies; then let the magistrates of the nearest 



city thereto purchase a heifer, and bring it to a valley, and to a place therein 
where there is no land ploughed or trees planted, and let them cut the sinews of 
the heifer; then the priests and Levites, and the senate of that city, shall take 
water and wash their hands over the head of the heifer; and they shall openly 
declare that their hands are innocent of this murder, and that they have neither 
done it themselves, nor been assisting to any that did it. They shall also beseech 
God to be merciful to them, that no such horrid act may any more be done in 
that land. 

17. Aristocracy, and the way of living under it, is the best constitution: and 
may you never have any inclination to any other form of government; and may 
you always love that form, and have the laws for your governors, and govern 
all your actions according to them; for you need no supreme governor but God. 
But if you shall desire a king, let him be one of your own nation; let him be 
always careful of justice and other virtues perpetually; let him submit to the 
laws, and esteem God's commands to be his highest wisdom; but let him do 
nothing without the high priest and the votes of the senators: let him not have a 
great number of wives, nor pursue after abundance of riches, nor a multitude of 
horses, whereby he may grow too proud to submit to the laws. And if he affect 
any such things, let him be restrained, lest he become so potent that his state be 
inconsistent with your welfare. 

18. Let it not be esteemed lawful to remove boundaries, neither our own, 
nor of those with whom we are at peace. Have a care you do not take those 
landmarks away which are, as it were, a divine and unshaken limitation of 
rights made by God himself, to last for ever; since this going beyond limits, and 
gaining ground upon others, is the occasion of wars and seditions; for those that 
remove boundaries are not far off an attempt to subvert the laws. 

19. He that plants a piece of land, the trees of which produce fruits before 
the fourth year, is not to bring thence any first-fruits to God, nor is he to make 
use of that fruit himself, for it is not produced in its proper season; for when 
nature has a force put upon her at an unseasonable time, the fruit is not proper 
for God, nor for the master's use; but let the owner gather all that is grown on 
the fourth car, for then it is in its proper season. And let him that has gathered it 
carry it to the holy city, and spend that, together with the tithe of his other 
fruits, in feasting with his friends, with the orphans, and the widows. But on the 
fifth year the fruit is his own, and he may use it as he pleases. 

20. You are not to sow with seed a piece of land which is planted with 
vines, for it is enough that it supply nourishment to that plant, and be not 
harassed by ploughing also. You are to plough your land with oxen, and not to 
oblige other animals to come under the same yoke with them; but to till your 
land with those beasts that are of the same kind with each other. The seeds are 
also to be pure, and without mixture, and not to be compounded of two or three 



sorts, since nature does not rejoice in the union of things that are not in their 
own nature alike; nor are you to permit beasts of different kinds to gender 
together, for there is reason to fear that this unnatural abuse may extend from 
beasts of different kinds to men, though it takes its first rise from evil practices 
about such smaller things. Nor is any thing to be allowed, by imitation whereof 
any degree of subversion may creep into the constitution. Nor do the laws 
neglect small matters, but provide that even those may be managed after an 
unblamable manner. 

21. Let not those that reap, and gather in the corn that is reaped, gather in 
the gleanings also; but let them rather leave some handfuls for those that are in 
want of the necessaries of life, that it may be a support and a supply to them, in 
order to their subsistence. In like manner when they gather their grapes, let 
them leave some smaller bunches for the poor, and let them pass over some of 
the fruits of the olive-trees, when they gather them, and leave them to be 
partaken of by those that have none of their own; for the advantage arising from 
the exact collection of all, will not be so considerable to the owners as will arise 
from the gratitude of the poor. And God will provide that the land shall more 
willingly produce what shall be for the nourishment of its fruits, in case you do 
not merely take care of your own advantage, but have regard to the support of 
others also. Nor are you to muzzle the mouths of the oxen when they tread the 
ears of corn in the thrashing-floor; for it is not just to restrain our fellow- 
laboring animals, and those that work in order to its production, of this fruit of 
their labors. Nor are you to prohibit those that pass by at the time when your 
fruits are ripe to touch them, but to give them leave to fill themselves full of 
what you have; and this whether they be of your own country or strangers, — as 
being glad of the opportunity of giving them some part of your fruits when they 
are ripe; but let it not be esteemed lawful for them to carry any away. Nor let 
those that gather the grapes, and carry them to the wine-presses, restrain those 
whom they meet from eating of them; for it is unjust, out of envy, to hinder 
those that desire it, to partake of the good things that come into the world 
according to God's will, and this while the season is at the height, and is 
hastening away as it pleases God. Nay, if some, out of bashfulness, are 
unwilling to touch these fruits, let them be encouraged to take of them (I mean, 
those that are Israelites) as if they were themselves the owners and lords, on 
account of the kindred there is between them. Nay, let them desire men that 
come from other countries, to partake of these tokens of friendship which God 
has given in their proper season; for that is not to be deemed as idly spent, 
which any one out of kindness communicates to another, since God bestows 
plenty of good things on men, not only for themselves to reap the advantage, 
but also to give to others in a way of generosity; and he is desirous, by this 
means, to make known to others his peculiar kindness to the people of Israel, 



and how freely he communicates happiness to them, while they abundantly 
communicate out of their great superfluities to even these foreigners also. But 
for him that acts contrary to this law, let him be beaten with forty stripes save 
one, 23 by the public executioner; let him undergo this punishment, which is a 
most ignominious one for a free-man, and this because he was such a slave to 
gain as to lay a blot upon his dignity; for it is proper for you who have had the 
experience of the afflictions in Egypt, and of those in the wilderness, to make 
provision for those that are in the like circumstances; and while you have now 
obtained plenty yourselves, through the mercy and providence of God, to 
distribute of the same plenty, by the like sympathy, to such as stand in need of 
it. 

22. Besides those two tithes, which I have already said you are to pay every 
year, the one for the Levites, the other for the festivals, you are to bring every 
third year a third tithe to be distributed to those that want; 24 to women also that 
are widows, and to children that are orphans. But as to the ripe fruits, let them 
carry that which is ripe first of all into the temple; and when they have blessed 
God for that land which bare them, and which he had given them for a 
possession, when they have also offered those sacrifices which the law has 
commanded them to bring, let them give the first-fruits to the priests. But when 
any one hath done this, and hath brought the tithe of all that he hath, together 
with those first-fruits that are for the Levites, and for the festivals, and when he 
is about to go home, let him stand before the holy house, and return thanks to 
God, that he hath delivered them from the injurious treatment they had in 
Egypt, and hath given them a good land, and a large, and lets them enjoy the 
fruits thereof; and when he hath openly testified that he hath fully paid the 
tithes [and other dues] according to the laws of Moses, let him entreat God that 
he will be ever merciful and gracious to him, and continue so to be to all the 
Hebrews, both by preserving the good things which he hath already given them, 
and by adding what it is still in his power to bestow upon them. 

23. Let the Hebrews marry, at the age fit for it, virgins that are free, and 
born of good parents. And he that does not marry a virgin, let him not corrupt 
another man's wife, and marry her, nor grieve her former husband. Nor let free 
men marry slaves, although their affections should strongly bias any of them so 
to do; for it is decent, and for the dignity of the persons themselves, to govern 
those their affections. And further, no one ought to marry a harlot, whose 
matrimonial oblations, arising from the prostitution of her body, God will not 
receive; for by these means the dispositions of the children will be liberal and 
virtuous; I mean, when they are not born of base parents, and of the lustful 
conjunction of such as marry women that are not free. If any one has been 
espoused to a woman as to a virgin, and does not afterward find her so to be, let 
him bring his action, and accuse her, and let him make use of such indications 25 



to prove his accusation as he is furnished withal; and let the father or the 
brother of the damsel, or some one that is after them nearest of kin to her, 
defend her If the damsel obtain a sentence in her favor, that she had not been 
guilty, let her live with her husband that accused her; and let him not have any 
further power at all to put her away, unless she give him very great occasions of 
suspicion, and such as can be no way contradicted. But for him that brings an 
accusation and calumny against his wife in an impudent and rash manner, let 
him be punished by receiving forty stripes save one, and let him pay fifty 
shekels to her father: but if the damsel be convicted, as having been corrupted, 
and is one of the common people, let her be stoned, because she did not 
preserve her virginity till she were lawfully married; but if she were the 
daughter of a priest, let her be burnt alive. If any one has two wives, and if he 
greatly respect and be kind to one of them, either out of his affection to her, or 
for her beauty, or for some other reason, while the other is of less esteem with 
him; and if the son of her that is beloved be the younger by birth than another 
born of the other wife, but endeavors to obtain the right of primogeniture from 
his father's kindness to his mother, and would thereby obtain a double portion 
of his father's substance, for that double portion is what I have allotted him in 
the laws, — let not this be permitted; for it is unjust that he who is the elder by 
birth should be deprived of what is due to him, on the father's disposition of his 
estate, because his mother was not equally regarded by him. He that hath 
corrupted a damsel espoused to another man, in case he had her consent, let 
both him and her be put to death, for they are both equally guilty; the man, 
because he persuaded the woman willingly to submit to a most impure action, 
and to prefer it to lawful wedlock; the woman, because she was persuaded to 
yield herself to be corrupted, either for pleasure or for gain. However, if a man 
light on a woman when she is alone, and forces her, where nobody was present 
to come to her assistance, let him only be put to death. Let him that hath 
corrupted a virgin not yet espoused marry her; but if the father of the damsel be 
not willing that she should be his wife, let him pay fifty shekels as the price of 
her prostitution. He that desires to be divorced from his wife for any cause 26 
whatsoever, (and many such causes happen among men,) let him in writing 
give assurance that he will never use her as his wife any more; for by this 
means she may be at liberty to marry another husband, although before this bill 
of divorce be given, she is not to be permitted so to do: but if she be misused by 
him also, or if, when he is dead, her first husband would marry her again, it 
shall not be lawful for her to return to him. If a woman's husband die, and leave 
her without children, let his brother marry her, and let him call the son that is 
born to him by his brother's name, and educate him as the heir of his 
inheritance, for this procedure will be for the benefit of the public, because 
thereby families will not fail, and the estate will continue among the kindred; 



and this will be for the solace of wives under their affliction, that they are to be 
married to the next relation of their former husbands. But if the brother will not 
marry her, let the woman come before the senate, and protest openly that this 
brother will not admit her for his wife, but will injure the memory of his 
deceased brother, while she is willing to continue in the family, and to bear him 
children. And when the senate have inquired of him for what reason it is that he 
is averse to this marriage, whether he gives a bad or a good reason, the matter 
must come to this issue, that the woman shall loose the sandals of the brother, 
and shall spit in his face, and say, he deserves this reproachful treatment from 
her, as having injured the memory of the deceased. And then let him go away 
out of the senate, and bear this reproach upon him all his life long; and let her 
marry to whom she pleases, of such as seek her in marriage. But now, if any 
man take captive, either a virgin, or one that hath been married, 27 and has a 
mind to marry her, let him not be allowed to bring her to bed to him, or to live 
with her as his wife, before she hath her head shaven, and hath put on her 
mourning habit, and lamented her relations and friends that were slain in the 
battle, that by this means she may give vent to her sorrow for them, and after 
that may betake herself to feasting and matrimony; for it is good for him that 
takes a woman, in order to have children by her, to be complaisant to her 
inclinations, and not merely to pursue his own pleasure, while he hath no 
regard to what is agreeable to her. But when thirty days are past, as the time of 
mourning, for so many are sufficient to prudent persons for lamenting the 
dearest friends, then let them proceed to the marriage; but in case when he hath 
satisfied his lust, he be too proud to retain her for his wife, let him not have it in 
his power to make her a slave, but let her go away whither she pleases, and 
have that privilege of a free woman. 

24. As to those young men that despise their parents, and do not pay them 
honor, but offer them affronts, either because they are ashamed of them or think 
themselves wiser than they, — in the first place, let their parents admonish them 
in words, (for they are by nature of authority sufficient for becoming their 
judges,) and let them say thus to them: — That they cohabited together, not for 
the sake of pleasure, nor for the augmentation of their riches, by joining both 
their stocks together, but that they might have children to take care of them in 
their old age, and might by them have what they then should want. And say 
further to him, "That when thou wast born, we took thee up with gladness, and 
gave God the greatest thanks for thee, and brought time up with great care, and 
spared for nothing that appeared useful for thy preservation, and for thy 
instruction in what was most excellent. And now, since it is reasonable to 
forgive the sins of those that are young, let it suffice thee to have given so many 
indications of thy contempt of us; reform thyself, and act more wisely for the 
time to come; considering that God is displeased with those that are insolent 



towards their parents, because he is himself the Father of the whole race of 
mankind, and seems to bear part of that dishonor which falls upon those that 
have the same name, when they do not meet with dire returns from their 
children. And on such the law inflicts inexorable punishment; of which 
punishment mayst thou never have the experience." Now if the insolence of 
young men be thus cured, let them escape the reproach which their former 
errors deserved; for by this means the lawgiver will appear to be good, and 
parents happy, while they never behold either a son or a daughter brought to 
punishment. But if it happen that these words and instructions, conveyed by 
them in order to reclaim the man, appear to be useless, then the offender 
renders the laws implacable enemies to the insolence he has offered his parents; 
let him therefore be brought forth 28 by these very parents out of the city, with a 
multitude following him, and there let him be stoned; and when he has 
continued there for one whole day, that all the people may see him, let him be 
buried in the night. And thus it is that we bury all whom the laws condemn to 
die, upon any account whatsoever. Let our enemies that fall in battle be also 
buried; nor let any one dead body lie above the ground, or suffer a punishment 
beyond what justice requires. 

25. Let no one lend to any one of the Hebrews upon usury, neither usury of 
what is eaten or what is drunken, for it is not just to make advantage of the 
misfortunes of one of thy own countrymen; but when thou hast been assistant 
to his necessities, think it thy gain if thou obtainest their gratitude to thee; and 
withal that reward which will come to thee from God, for thy humanity towards 
him. 

26. Those who have borrowed either silver or any sort of fruits, whether dry 
or wet, (I mean this, when the Jewish affairs shall, by the blessing of God, be to 
their own mind,) let the borrowers bring them again, and restore them with 
pleasure to those who lent them, laying them up, as it were, in their own 
treasuries, and justly expecting to receive them thence, if they shall want them 
again. But if they be without shame, and do not restore it, let not the lender go 
to the borrower's house, and take a pledge himself, before judgment be given 
concerning it; but let him require the pledge, and let the debtor bring it of 
himself, without the least opposition to him that comes upon him under the 
protection of the law. And if he that gave the pledge be rich, let the creditor 
retain it till what he lent be paid him again; but if he be poor, let him that takes 
it return it before the going down of the sun, especially if the pledge be a 
garment, that the debtor may have it for a covering in his sleep, God himself 
naturally showing mercy to the poor. It is also not lawful to take a millstone, 
nor any utensil thereto belonging, for a pledge, that the debtor, may not be 
deprived of instruments to get their food withal, and lest they be undone by 
their necessity. 



27. Let death be the punishment for stealing a man; but he that hath 
purloined gold or silver, let him pay double. If any one kill a man that is 
stealing something out of his house, let him be esteemed guiltless, although the 
man were only breaking in at the wall. Let him that hath stolen cattle pay 
fourfold what is lost, excepting the case of an ox, for which let the thief pay 
fivefold. Let him that is so poor that he cannot pay what mulet is laid upon him, 
be his servant to whom he was adjudged to pay it. 

28. If any one be sold to one of his own nation, let him serve him six years, 
and on the seventh let him go free. But if he have a son by a woman servant in 
his purchaser's house, and if, on account of his good- will to his master, and his 
natural affection to his wife and children, he will be his servant still, let him be 
set free only at the coming of the year of jubilee, which is the fiftieth year, and 
let him then take away with him his children and wife, and let them be free 
also. 

29. If any one find gold or silver on the road, let him inquire after him that 
lost it, and make proclamation of the place where he found it, and then restore 
it to him again, as not thinking it right to make his own profit by the loss of 
another. And the same rule is to be observed in cattle found to have wandered 
away into a lonely place. If the owner be not presently discovered, let him that 
is the finder keep it with himself, and appeal to God that he has not purloined 
what belongs to another. 

30. It is not lawful to pass by any beast that is in distress, when in a storm it 
is fallen down in the mire, but to endeavor to preserve it, as having a sympathy 
with it in its pain. 

31. It is also a duty to show the roads to those who do not know them, and 
not to esteem it a matter for sport, when we hinder others' advantages, by 
setting them in a wrong way. 

32. In like manner, let no one revile a person blind or dumb. 

33. If men strive together, and there be no instrument of iron, let him that is 
smitten be avenged immediately, by inflicting the same punishment on him that 
smote him: but if when he is carried home he lie sick many days, and then die, 
let him that smote him not escape punishment; but if he that is smitten escape 
death, and yet be at great expense for his cure, the smiter shall pay for all that 
has been expended during the time of his sickness, and for all that he has paid 
the physician. He that kicks a woman with child, so that the woman miscarry, 29 
let him pay a fine in money, as the judges shall determine, as having diminished 
the multitude by the destruction of what was in her womb; and let money also 
be given the woman's husband by him that kicked her; but if she die of the 
stroke, let him also be put to death, the law judging it equitable that life should 
go for life. 

34. Let no one of the Israelites keep any poison 30 that may cause death, or 



any other harm; but if he be caught with it, let him be put to death, and suffer 
the very same mischief that he would have brought upon them for whom the 
poison was prepared. 

35. He that maimeth any one, let him undergo the like himself, and be 
deprived of the same member of which he hath deprived the other, unless he 
that is maimed will accept of money instead of it; 31 for the law makes the 
sufferer the judge of the value of what he hath suffered, and permits him to 
estimate it, unless he will be more severe. 

36. Let him that is the owner of an ox which pusheth with his horn, kill 
him: but if he pushes and gores any one in the thrashing-floor, let him be put to 
death by stoning, and let him not be thought fit for food: but if his owner be 
convicted as having known what his nature was, and hath not kept him up, let 
him also be put to death, as being the occasion of the ox's having killed a man. 
But if the ox have killed a man-servant, or a maid-servant, let him be stoned; 
and let the owner of the ox pay thirty shekels 32 to the master of him that was 
slain; but if it be an ox that is thus smitten and killed, let both the oxen, that 
which smote the other and that which was killed, be sold, and let the owners of 
them divide their price between them. 

37. Let those that dig a well or a pit be careful to lay planks over them, and 
so keep them shut up, not in order to hinder any persons from drawing water, 
but that there may be no danger of falling into them. But if any one's beast fall 
into such a well or pit thus digged, and not shut up, and perish, let the owner 
pay its price to the owner of the beast. Let there be a battlement round the tops 
of your houses instead of a wall, that may prevent any persons from rolling 
down and perishing. 

38. Let him that has received any thing in trust for another, take care to 
keep it as a sacred and divine thing; and let no one invent any contrivance 
whereby to deprive him that hath intrusted it with him of the same, and this 
whether he be a man or a woman; no, not although he or she were to gain an 
immense sum of gold, and this where he cannot be convicted of it by any body; 
for it is fit that a man's own conscience, which knows what he hath, should in 
all cases oblige him to do well. Let this conscience be his witness, and make 
him always act so as may procure him commendation from others; but let him 
chiefly have regard to God, from whom no wicked man can lie concealed: but 
if he in whom the trust was reposed, without any deceit of his own, lose what 
he was intrusted withal, let him come before the seven judges, and swear by 
God that nothing hath been lost willingly, or with a wicked intention, and that 
he hath not made use of any part thereof, and so let him depart without blame; 
but if he hath made use of the least part of what was committed to him, and it 
be lost, let him be condemned to repay all that he had received. After the same 
manner as in these trusts it is to be, if any one defraud those that undergo bodily 



labor for him. And let it be always remembered, that we are not to defraud a 
poor man of his wages, as being sensible that God has allotted these wages to 
him instead of land and other possessions; nay, this payment is not at all to be 
delayed, but to be made that very day, since God is not willing to deprive the 
laborer of the immediate use of what he hath labored for. 

39. You are not to punish children for the faults of their parents, but on 
account of their own virtue rather to vouchsafe them commiseration, because 
they were born of wicked parents, than hatred, because they were born of bad 
ones. Nor indeed ought we to impute the sin of children to their fathers, while 
young persons indulge themselves in many practices different from what they 
have been instructed in, and this by their proud refusal of such instruction. 

40. Let those that have made themselves eunuchs be had in detestation; and 
do you avoid any conversation with them who have deprived themselves of 
their manhood, and of that fruit of generation which God has given to men for 
the increase of their kind: let such be driven away, as if they had killed their 
children, since they beforehand have lost what should procure them; for evident 
it is, that while their soul is become effeminate, they have withal transfused that 
effeminacy to their body also. In like manner do you treat all that is of a 
monstrous nature when it is looked on; nor is it lawful to geld men or any other 
animals. 33 

41. Let this be the constitution of your political laws in time of peace, and 
God will be so merciful as to preserve this excellent settlement free from 
disturbance: and may that time never come which may innovate any thing, and 
change it for the contrary. But since it must needs happen that mankind fall into 
troubles and dangers, either undesignedly or intentionally, come let us make a 
few constitutions concerning them, that so being apprised beforehand what 
ought to be done, you may have salutary counsels ready when you want them, 
and may not then be obliged to go to seek what is to be done, and so be 
unprovided, and fall into dangerous circumstances. May you be a laborious 
people, and exercise your souls in virtuous actions, and thereby possess and 
inherit the land without wars; while neither any foreigners make war upon it, 
and so afflict you, nor any internal sedition seize upon it, whereby you may do 
things that are contrary to your fathers, and so lose the laws which they have 
established. And may you continue in the observation of those laws which God 
hath approved of, and hath delivered to you. Let all sort of warlike operations, 
whether they befall you now in your own time, or hereafter in the times of your 
posterity, be done out of your own borders: but when you are about to go to 
war, send embassages and heralds to those who are your voluntary enemies, for 
it is a right thing to make use of words to them before you come to your 
weapons of war; and assure them thereby, that although you have a numerous 
army, with horses and weapons, and, above these, a God merciful to you, and 



ready to assist you, you do however desire them not to compel you to fight 
against them, nor to take from them what they have, which will indeed be our 
gain, but what they will have no reason to wish we should take to ourselves. 
And if they hearken to you, it will be proper for you to keep peace with them; 
but if they trust in their own strength, as superior to yours, and will not do you 
justice, lead your army against them, making use of God as your supreme 
Commander, but ordaining for a lieutenant under him one that is of the greatest 
courage among you; for these different commanders, besides their being an 
obstacle to actions that are to be done on the sudden, are a disadvantage to 
those that make use of them. Lead an army pure, and of chosen men, composed 
of all such as have extraordinary strength of body and hardiness of soul; but do 
you send away the timorous part, lest they run away in the time of action, and 
so afford an advantage to your enemies. Do you also give leave to those that 
have lately built them houses, and have not yet lived in them a year's time; and 
to those that have planted them vineyards, and have not yet been partakers of 
their fruits, — to continue in their own country; as well as those also who have 
betrothed, or lately married them wives, lest they have such an affection for 
these things that they he too sparing of their lives, and, by reserving themselves 
for these enjoyments, they become voluntary cowards, on account of their 
wives. 

42. When you have pitched your camp, take care that you do nothing that is 
cruel. And when you are engaged in a siege; and want timber for the making of 
warlike engines, do not you render the land naked by cutting down trees that 
bear fruit, but spare them, as considering that they were made for the benefit of 
men; and that if they could speak, they would have a just plea against you, 
because, though they are not occasions of the war, they are unjustly treated, and 
suffer in it, and would, if they were able, remove themselves into another land. 
When you have beaten your enemies in battle, slay those that have fought 
against you; but preserve the others alive, that they may pay you tribute, 
excepting the nation of the Canaanites; for as to that people, you must entirely 
destroy them. 

43. Take care, especially in your battles, that no woman use the habit of a 
man, nor man the garment of a woman. 

44. This was the form of political government which was left us by Moses. 
Moreover, he had already delivered laws in writing, 34 in the fortieth year [after 
they came out of Egypt], concerning which we will discourse in another book. 
But now on the following days (for he called them to assemble continually) he 
delivered blessings to them, and curses upon those that should not live 
according to the laws, but should transgress the duties that were determined for 
them to observe. After this, he read to them a poetic song, which was composed 
in hexameter verse, and left it to them in the holy book: it contained a 



prediction of what was to come to pass afterward; agreeably whereto all things 
have happened all along, and do still happen to us; and wherein he has not at all 
deviated from the truth. Accordingly, he delivered these books to the priests, 35 
with the ark; into which he also put the ten commandments, written on two 
tables. He delivered to them the tabernacle also, and exhorted the people, that 
when they had conquered the land, and were settled in it, they should not forget 
the injuries of the Amalekites, but make war against them, and inflict 
punishment upon them for what mischief they did them when they were in the 
wilderness; and that when they had got possession of the land of the 
Canaanites, and when they had destroyed the whole multitude of its inhabitants, 
as they ought to do, they should erect an altar that should face the rising sun, 
not far from the city of Shechem, between the two mountains, that of Gerizzim, 
situate on the right hand, and that called Ebal, on the left; and that the army 
should be so divided, that six tribes should stand upon each of the two 
mountains, and with them the Levites and the priests. And that first, those that 
were upon Mount Gerizzim should pray for the best blessings upon those who 
were diligent about the worship of God, and the observation of his laws, and 
who did not reject what Moses had said to them; while the other wished them 
all manner of happiness also; and when these last put up the like prayers, the 
former praised them. After this, curses were denounced upon those that should 
transgress those laws, they answering one another alternately, by way of 
confirmation of what had been said. Moses also wrote their blessings and their 
curses, that they might learn them so thoroughly, that they might never be 
forgotten by length of time. And when he was ready to die, he wrote these 
blessings and curses upon the altar, on each side of it; 36 where he says also the 
people stood, and then sacrificed and offered burnt-offerings, though after that 
day they never offered upon it any other sacrifice, for it was not lawful so to do. 
These are the constitutions of Moses; and the Hebrew nation still live according 
to them. 

45. On the next day, Moses called the people together, with the women and 
children, to a congregation, so as the very slaves were present also, that they 
might engage themselves to the observation of these laws by oath; and that, 
duly considering the meaning of God in them, they might not, either for favor 
of their kindred, or out of fear of any one, or indeed for any motive whatsoever, 
think any thing ought to be preferred to these laws, and so might transgress 
them. That in case any one of their own blood, or any city, should attempt to 
confound or dissolve their constitution of government, they should take 
vengeance upon them, both all in general, and each person in particular; and 
when they had conquered them, should overturn their city to the very 
foundations, and, if possible, should not leave the least footsteps of such 
madness: but that if they were not able to take such vengeance, they should still 



demonstrate that what was done was contrary to their wills. So the multitude 
bound themselves by oath so to do. 

46. Moses taught them also by what means their sacrifices might be the 
most acceptable to God; and how they should go forth to war, making use of 
the stones (in the high priest's breastplate) for their direction, 37 as I have before 
signified. Joshua also prophesied while Moses was present. And when Moses 
had recapitulated whatsoever he had done for the preservation of the people, 
both in their wars and in peace, and had composed them a body of laws, and 
procured them an excellent form of government, he foretold, as God had 
declared to him "That if they transgressed that institution for the worship of 
God, they should experience the following miseries: — Their land should be full 
of weapons of war from their enemies, and their cities should be overthrown, 
and their temple should be burnt that they should be sold for slaves, to such 
men as would have no pity on them in their afflictions; that they would then 
repent, when that repentance would no way profit them under their sufferings. 
"Yet," said he, "will that God who founded your nation, restore your cities to 
your citizens, with their temple also; and you shall lose these advantages not 
once only, but often." 

47. Now when Moses had encouraged Joshua to lead out the army against 
the Canaanites, by telling him that God would assist him in all his 
undertakings, and had blessed the whole multitude, he said, "Since I am going 
to my forefathers, and God has determined that this should be the day of my 
departure to them, I return him thanks while I am still alive and present with 
you, for that providence he hath exercised over you, which hath not only 
delivered us from the miseries we lay under, but hath bestowed a state of 
prosperity upon us; as also, that he hath assisted me in the pains I took, and in 
all the contrivances I had in my care about you, in order to better your 
condition, and hath on all occasions showed himself favorable to us; or rather 
he it was who first conducted our affairs, and brought them to a happy 
conclusion, by making use of me as a vicarious general under him, and as a 
minister in those matters wherein he was willing to do you good: on which 
account I think it proper to bless that Divine Power which will take care of you 
for the time to come, and this in order to repay that debt which I owe him, and 
to leave behind me a memorial that we are obliged to worship and honor him, 
and to keep those laws which are the most excellent gift of all those he hath 
already bestowed upon us, or which, if he continue favorable to us, he will 
bestow upon us hereafter. Certainly a human legislator is a terrible enemy when 
his laws are affronted, and are made to no purpose. And may you never 
experience that displeasure of God which will be the consequence of the 
neglect of these his laws, which he, who is your Creator, hath given you." 

48. When Moses had spoken thus at the end of his life, and had foretold 



what would befall to every one of their tribes 38 afterward, with the addition of a 
blessing to them, the multitude fell into tears, insomuch that even the women, 
by beating their breasts, made manifest the deep concern they had when he was 
about to die. The children also lamented still more, as not able to contain their 
grief; and thereby declared, that even at their age they were sensible of his 
virtue and mighty deeds; and truly there seemed to be a strife betwixt the young 
and the old who should most grieve for him. The old grieved because they 
knew what a careful protector they were to be deprived of, and so lamented 
their future state; but the young grieved, not only for that, but also because it so 
happened that they were to be left by him before they had well tasted of his 
virtue. Now one may make a guess at the excess of this sorrow and lamentation 
of the multitude, from what happened to the legislator himself; for although he 
was always persuaded that he ought not to be cast down at the approach of 
death, since the undergoing it was agreeable to the will of God and the law of 
nature, yet what the people did so overbore him, that he wept himself. Now as 
he went thence to the place where he was to vanish out of their sight, they all 
followed after him weeping; but Moses beckoned with his hand to those that 
were remote from him, and bade them stay behind in quiet, while he exhorted 
those that were near to him that they would not render his departure so 
lamentable. Whereupon they thought they ought to grant him that favor, to let 
him depart according as he himself desired; so they restrained themselves, 
though weeping still towards one another. All those who accompanied him 
were the senate, and Eleazar the high priest, and Joshua their commander. Now 
as soon as they were come to the mountain called Abarim, (which is a very high 
mountain, situate over against Jericho, and one that affords, to such as are upon 
it, a prospect of the greatest part of the excellent land of Canaan,) he dismissed 
the senate; and as he was going to embrace Eleazar and Joshua, and was still 
discoursing with them, a cloud stood over him on the sudden, and he 
disappeared in a certain valley, although he wrote in the holy books that he 
died, which was done out of fear, lest they should venture to say that, because 
of his extraordinary virtue, he went to God. 

49. Now Moses lived in all one hundred and twenty years; a third part of 
which time, abating one month, he was the people's ruler; and he died on the 
last month of the year, which is called by the Macedonians Dystrus, but by us 
Adar, on the first day of the month. He was one that exceeded all men that ever 
were in understanding, and made the best use of what that understanding 
suggested to him. He had a very graceful way of speaking and addressing 
himself to the multitude; and as to his other qualifications, he had such a full 
command of his passions, as if he hardly had any such in his soul, and only 
knew them by their names, as rather perceiving them in other men than in 
himself. He was also such a general of an army as is seldom seen, as well as 



such a prophet as was never known, and this to such a degree, that whatsoever 
he pronounced, you would think you heard the voice of God himself. So the 
people mourned for him thirty days: nor did ever any grief so deeply affect the 
Hebrews as did this upon the death of Moses: nor were those that had 
experienced his conduct the only persons that desired him, but those also that 
perused the laws he left behind him had a strong desire after him, and by them 
gathered the extraordinary virtue he was master of. And this shall suffice for the 
declaration of the manner of the death of Moses. 



1 Reland here takes notice, that although our Bibles say little or nothing of these riches of Corah, yet that 
both the Jews and Mahommedans, as well as Josephus, are full of it. 

2 It appears here, and from the Samaritan Pentateuch, and, in effect, from the psalmist, as also from the 
Apostolical Constitutions, from Clement's First Epistle to the Corinthians, from Ignatius's Epistle to the 
Magnesians, and from Eusebius, that Corah was not swallowed up with the Reubenites, but burned with the 
Levites of his own tribe. See Essay on the Old Testament, p. 64, 65. 

3 Concerning these twelve rods of the twelve tribes of Israel, see St. Clement's account, much larger than 
that in our Bibles, 1 Epist. sect. 45; as is Josephus's present account in measure larger also. 

4 Grotius, on Numbers 6:18, takes notice that the Greeks also, as well as the Jews, sometimes 
consecrated the hair of their heads to the gods. 

5 Josephus here uses this phrase, "when the fortieth year was completed," for when it was begun; as does 
St. Luke when the day of Pentecost was completed," Acts 2: 1 . 

6 Whether Miriam died, as Josephus's Greek copies imply, on the first day of the month, may be 
doubted, because the Latin copies say it was on the tenth, and so say the Jewish calendars also, as Dr. 
Bernard assures us. It is said her sepulchre is still extant near Petra, the old capital city of Arabia Petraea, at 
this day; as also that of Aaron, not far off. 

7 What Josephus here remarks is well worth our remark in this place also; viz. that the Israelites were 
never to meddle with the Moabites, or Ammonites, or any other people, but those belonging to the land of 
Canaan, and the countries of Sihon and Og beyond Jordan, as far as the desert and Euphrates, and that 
therefore no other people had reason to fear the conquests of the Israelites; but that those countries given 
them by God were their proper and peculiar portion among the nations, and that all who endeavored to 
dispossess them might ever be justly destroyed by them. 

8 Note that Josephus never supposes Balaam to be an idolater, nor to seek idolatrous enchantments, or to 
prophesy falsely, but to be no other than an ill-disposed prophet of the true God; and intimates that God's 
answer the second time, permitting him to go, was ironical, and on design that he deceived (which sort of 
deception, by way of punishment for former crimes, Josephus never scruples to admit, as ever esteeming 
such wicked men justly and providentially deceived). But perhaps we had better keep here close to the text 
which says Numbers 23:20, 21, that God only permitted Balaam to go along with the ambassadors, in case 
they came and called him, or positively insisted on his going along with them, on any terms; whereas 
Balaam seems out of impatience to have risen up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and rather to have 
called them, than staid for their calling him, so zealous does he seem to have been for his reward of 
divination, his wages of unrighteousness, Numbers 23:7, 17, 18, 37; 2 Peter 2:15; Jude 5, 11; which reward 
or wages the truly religious prophets of God never required nor accepted, as our Josephus justly takes 
notice in the cases of Samuel, Antiq. B. V. ch. 4. sect. 1, and Daniel, Antiq. B. X. ch. 11. sect. 3. See also 
Genesis 14:22, 23; 2 Kings 5:15, 16, 26, 27; and Acts 8:17-24. 

9 Whether Josephus had in his copy but two attempts of Balaam in all to curse Israel; or whether by this 
his twice offering sacrifice, he meant twice besides that first time already mentioned, which yet is not very 
probable; cannot now be certainly determined. In the mean time, all other copies have three such attempts 
of Balaam to curse them in the present history. 

10 Such a large and distinct account of this perversion of the Israelites by the Midianite women, of which 
our other copies give us but short intimations, Numbers 31:16 2 Peter 2:15; Jude 11; Revelation 2:14, is 
preserved, as Reland informs us, in the Samaritan Chronicle, in Philo, and in other writings of the Jews, as 



well as here by Josephus. 

11 This grand maxim, That God's people of Israel could never be hurt nor destroyed, but by drawing 
them to sin against God, appears to be true, by the entire history of that people, both in the Bible and in 
Josephus; and is often taken notice of in them both. See in particular a most remarkable Ammonite 
testimony to this purpose, Judith 5:5-21. 

12 What Josephus here puts into the mouths of these Midianite women, who came to entice the Israelites 
to lewdness and idolatry, viz. that their worship of the God of Israel, in opposition to their idol gods, 
implied their living according to the holy laws which the true God had given them by Moses, in opposition 
to those impure laws which were observed under their false gods, well deserves our consideration; and 
gives us a substantial reason for the great concern that was ever shown under the law of Moses to preserve 
the Israelites from idolatry, and in the worship of the true God; it being of no less consequence than, 
whether God's people should be governed by the holy laws of the true God, or by the impure laws derived 
from demons, under the pagan idolatry. 

13 The mistake in all Josephus's copies, Greek and Latin which have here fourteen thousand instead of 
twenty-four thousand, is so flagrant, that our very learned editors, Bernard and Hudson, have put the latter 
number directly into the text. I choose rather to put it in brackets. 

14 The slaughter of all the Midianite women that had prostituted themselves to the lewd Israelites, and 
the preservation of those that had not been guilty therein; the last of which were no fewer than thirty-two 
thousand, both here and Numbers 31:15-17, 35, 40, 46, and both by the particular command of God; are 
highly remarkable, and show that, even in nations otherwise for their wickedness doomed to destruction, 
the innocent were sometimes particularly and providentially taken care of, and delivered from that 
destruction; which directly implies, that it was the wickedness of the nations of Canaan, and nothing else, 
that occasioned their excision. See Genesis 15:16; 1 Samuel 15:18, 33; Apost. Constit. B. VIII. ch. 12. p. 
402. In the first of which places, the reason of the delay of the punishment of the Amorites is given, 
because "their iniquity was not yet full." In the secured, Saul is ordered to go and "destroy the sinners, the 
Amalekites"; plainly implying that they were therefore to be destroyed, because they were sinners, and not 
otherwise. In the third, the reason is given why king Agag was not to be spared, viz. because of his former 
cruelty: "As thy sword hath made the (Hebrew) women childless, so shall thy mother be made childless 
among women by the Hebrews." In the last place, the apostles, or their amanuensis Clement, gave this 
reason for the necessity of the coming of Christ, that "men had formerly perverted both the positive law, 
and that of nature; and had cast out of their mind the memory of the Flood, the burning of Sodom, the 
plagues of the Egyptians, and the slaughter of the inhabitants of Palestine," as signs of the most amazing 
impenitence and insensibility, under the punishments of horrid wickedness. 

15 Josephus here, in this one sentence, sums up his notion of Moses's very long and very serious 
exhortations in the book of Deuteronomy; and his words are so true, and of such importance, that they 
deserve to be had in constant remembrance. 

16 This law, both here and Exodus 20:25, 26, of not going up to God's altar by ladder-steps, but on an 
acclivity, seems not to have belonged to the altar of the tabernacle, which was in all but three cubits high, 
Exodus 27:4; nor to that of Ezekiel, which was expressly to be gone up to by steps, ch. 43: 17; but rather to 
occasional altars of any considerable altitude and largeness; as also probably to Solomon's altar, to which it 
is here applied by Josephus, as well as to that in Zorobabel's and Herod's temple, which were, I think, all 
ten cubits high. See 2 Chronicles 4:1, and Antiq. B. VIII. ch. 3. sect. 7. The reason why these temples, and 
these only, were to have this ascent on an acclivity, and not by steps, is obvious, that before the invention of 
stairs, such as we now use, decency could not be otherwise provided for in the loose garments which the 
priests wore, as the law required. See Lamv. of the Tabernacle and Temple, p. 444. 

17 The hire of public or secret harlots was given to Venus in Syria, as Lucian informs us, p. 878; and 
against some such vile practice of the old idolaters this law seems to have been made. 

18 The Apostolical Constitutions, B. II. ch. 26. sect. 31, expound this law of Moses, Exodus 22. 28, 
"Thou shalt not revile or blaspheme the gods," or magistrates, which is a much more probable exposition 
than this of Josephus, of heathen gods, as here, and against Apion, B. II. ch. 3. sect. 31. 

19 What book of the law was thus publicly read, see the note on Antiq. B. X. ch. 5. sect. 5, and 1 Esd. 
9:8-55. 

20 Whether these phylacteries, and other Jewish memorials of the law here mentioned by Josephus, and 
by Muses, (besides the fringes on the borders of their garments, Numbers 15:37,) were literally meant by 
God, I much question. That they have been long observed by the Pharisees and Rabbinical Jews is certain; 
however, the Karaites, who receive not the unwritten traditions of the elders, but keep close to the written 



law, with Jerome and Grotius, think they were not literally to be understood; as Bernard and Reland here 
take notice. Nor indeed do I remember that, either in the ancienter books of the Old Testament, or in the 
books we call Apocrypha, there are any signs of such literal observations appearing among the Jews, 
though their real or mystical signification, i.e. the constant remembrance and observation of the laws of 
God by Moses, be frequently inculcated in all the sacred writings. 

21 Here, as well as elsewhere, sect. 38, of his Life, sect. 14, and of the War, B. II. ch. 20. sect. 5, are but 
seven judges appointed for small cities, instead of twenty-three in the modern Rabbins; which modern 
Rabbis are always but of very little authority in comparison of our Josephus. 

22 1 have never observed elsewhere, that in the Jewish government women were not admitted as legal 
witnesses in courts of justice. None of our copies of the Pentateuch say a word of it. It is very probable, 
however, that this was the exposition of the scribes and Pharisees, and the practice of the Jews in the days 
of Josephus. 

23 This penalty of "forty stripes save one," here mentioned, and sect. 23, was five times inflicted on St. 
Paul himself by the Jews, 2 Corinthians 11:24. 

24 Josephus's plain and express interpretation of this law of Moses, Deuteronomy 14:28, 29; 26: 12, etc., 
that the Jews were bound every third year to pay three tithes, that to the Levites, that for sacrifices at 
Jerusalem, and this for the indigent, the widow, and the orphans, is fully confirmed by the practice of good 
old Tobit, even when he was a captive in Assyria, against the opinions of the Rabbins, Tobit 1:6-8. 

25 These tokens of virginity, as the Hebrew and Septuagint style them, Deuteronomy 22:15, 17, 20, seem 
to me very different from what our later interpreters suppose. They appear rather to have been such close 
linen garments as were never put off virgins, after, a certain age, till they were married, but before 
witnesses, and which, while they were entire, were certain evidences of such virginity. See these, Antiq. B. 
VII. ch. 8. sect. 1; 2 Samuel 13:18; Isaiah 6:1 Josephus here determines nothing what were these particular 
tokens of virginity or of corruption: perhaps he thought he could not easily describe them to the heathens, 
without saying what they might have thought a breach of modesty; which seeming breach of modesty laws 
cannot always wholly avoid. 

26 These words of Josephus are very like those of the Pharisees to our Savior upon this very subject, 
Matthew 19:3, "Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?" 

27 Here it is supposed that this captive's husband, if she were before a married woman, was dead before, 
or rather was slain in this very battle, otherwise it would have been adultery in him that married her. 

28 See Herod the Great insisting on the execution of this law, with relation to two of his own sons, before 
the judges at Berytus, Antiq. B. XVI. ch. 11. sect. 2. 

29 Philo and others appear to have understood this law, Exodus 21:22, 23, better than Josephus, who 
seems to allow, that though the infant in the mother's womb, even after the mother were quick, and so the 
infant had a rational soul, were killed by the stroke upon the mother, yet if the mother escaped, the offender 
should only be fined, and not put to death; while the law seems rather to mean, that if the infant in that case 
be killed, though the mother escape, the offender must be put to death, and not only when the mother is 
killed, as Josephus understood it. It seems this was the exposition of the Pharisees in the days of Josephus. 

30 What we render a witch, according to our modern notions of witchcraft, Exodus 22: 15, Philo and 
Josephus understood of a poisoner, or one who attempted by secret and unlawful drugs or philtra, to take 
away the senses or the lives of men. 

31 This permission of redeeming this penalty with money is not in our copies, Exodus 21:24, 25; 
Leviticus 24:20; Deuteronomy 19:21. 

32 We may here note, that thirty shekels, the price our Savior was sold for by Judas to the Jews, Matthew 
26: 15, and 27:3, was the old value of a bought servant or slave among that people. 

33 This law against castration, even of brutes, is said to be so rigorous elsewhere, as to inflict death on 
him that does it, which seems only a Pharisaical interpretation in the days of Josephus of that law, Leviticus 
21:20, and 22:24: only we may hence observe, that the Jews could then have no oxen which are gelded, but 
only bulls and cows, in Judea. 

34 These laws seem to be those above-mentioned, sect, 4, of this chapter. 

35 What laws were now delivered to the priests, see the note on Antiq. B. III. ch. 1. sect. 7. 

36 Of the exact place where this altar was to be built, whether nearer Mount Gerizzim or Mount Ebal, 
according to Josephus, see Essay on the Old Testament, p. 168-171. 

37 Dr. Bernard well observes here, how unfortunate this neglect of consulting the Urim was to Joshua 
himself, in the case of the Gibeonites, who put a trick upon him, and ensnared him, together with the rest of 
the Jewish rulers, with a solemn oath to preserve them, contrary to his commission to extirpate all the 



Canaanites, root and branch; which oath he and the other rulers never durst break. See Scripture Politics, p. 
55, 56; and this snare they were brought into because they "did not ask counsel at the mouth of the Lord," 
Joshua 9:14. 

38 Since Josephus assures us here, as is most naturally to be supposed, and as the Septuagint gives the 
text, Deuteronomy 33:6, that Moses blessed every one of the tribes of Israel, it is evident that Simeon was 
not omitted in his copy, as it unhappily now is, both in our Hebrew and Samaritan copies. 

BOOK 5 

CONTAINING THE INTERVAL OF FOUR HUNDRED AND SEVENTY- 
SIX YEARS 

FROM THE DEATH OF MOSES TO THE DEATH OF ELI 
CHAPTER 1 

HOW JOSHUA, THE COMMANDER OF THE HEBREWS, MADE WAR 
WITH THE CANAANITES, AND OVERCAME THEM, AND DESTROYED 
THEM, AND DIVIDED THEIR LAND BY LOT TO THE TRIBES OF 
ISRAEL 



1. When Moses was taken away from among men, in the manner already 
described, and when all the solemnities belonging to the mourning for him 
were finished, and the sorrow for him was over, Joshua commanded the 
multitude to get themselves ready for an expedition. He also sent spies to 
Jericho to discover what forces they had, and what were their intentions; but he 
put his camp in order, as intending soon to pass over Jordan at a proper season. 
And calling to him the rulers of the tribe of Reuben, and the governors of the 
tribe of Gad, and [the half tribe of] Manas seh, for half of this tribe had been 
permitted to have their habitation in the country of the Amorites, which was the 
seventh part of the land of Canaan, 1 he put them in mind what they had 
promised Moses; and he exhorted them that, for the sake of the care that Moses 
had taken of them who had never been weary of taking pains for them no, not 
when he was dying, and for the sake of the public welfare, they would prepare 
themselves, and readily perform what they had promised; so he took fifty 
thousand of them who followed him, and he marched from Abila to Jordan, 
sixty furlongs. 

2. Now when he had pitched his camp, the spies came to him immediately, 
well acquainted with the whole state of the Canaanites; for at first, before they 
were at all discovered, they took a full view of the city of Jericho without 
disturbance, and saw which parts of the walls were strong, and which parts 
were otherwise, and indeed insecure, and which of the gates were so weak as 
might afford an entrance to their army. Now those that met them took no notice 



of them when they saw them, and supposed they were only strangers, who used 
to be very curious in observing everything in the city, and did not take them for 
enemies; but at even they retired to a certain inn that was near to the wall, 
whither they went to eat their supper; which supper when they had done, and 
were considering how to get away, information was given to the king as he was 
at supper, that there were some persons come from the Hebrews' camp to view 
the city as spies, and that they were in the inn kept by Rahab, and were very 
solicitous that they might not be discovered. So he sent immediately some to 
them, and commanded to catch them, and bring them to him, that he might 
examine them by torture, and learn what their business was there. As soon as 
Rahab understood that these messengers were coming, she hid the spies under 
stalks of flax, which were laid to dry on the top of her house; and said to the 
messengers that were sent by the king, that certain unknown strangers had 
supped with her a little before sun-setting, and were gone away, who might 
easily be taken, if they were any terror to the city, or likely to bring any danger 
to the king. So these messengers being thus deluded by the woman, 2 and 
suspecting no imposition, went their ways, without so much as searching the 
inn; but they immediately pursued them along those roads which they most 
probably supposed them to have gone, and those particularly which led to the 
river, but could hear no tidings of them; so they left off the pains of any further 
pursuit. But when the tumult was over, Rahab brought the men down, and 
desired them as soon as they should have obtained possession of the land of 
Canaan, when it would be in their power to make her amends for her 
preservation of them, to remember what danger she had undergone for their 
sakes; for that if she had been caught concealing them, she could not have 
escaped a terrible destruction, she and all her family with her, and so bid them 
go home; and desired them to swear to her to preserve her and her family when 
they should take the city, and destroy all its inhabitants, as they had decreed to 
do; for so far she said she had been assured by those Divine miracles of which 
she had been informed. So these spies acknowledged that they owed her thanks 
for what she had done already, and withal swore to requite her kindness, not 
only in words, but in deeds. But they gave her this advice, That when she 
should perceive that the city was about to be taken, she should put her goods, 
and all her family, by way of security, in her inn, and to hang out scarlet threads 
before her doors, [or windows,] that the commander of the Hebrews might 
know her house, and take care to do her no harm; for, said they, we will inform 
him of this matter, because of the concern thou hast had to preserve us: but if 
any one of thy family fall in the battle, do not thou blame us; and we beseech 
that God, by whom we have sworn, not then to be displeased with us, as though 
we had broken our oaths. So these men, when they had made this agreement, 
went away, letting themselves down by a rope from the wall, and escaped, and 



came and told their own people whatsoever they had done in their journey to 
this city. Joshua also told Eleazar the high priest, and the senate, what the spies 
had sworn to Rahab, who continued what had been sworn. 

3. Now while Joshua, the commander, was in fear about their passing over 
Jordan, for the river ran with a strong current, and could not be passed over 
with bridges, for there never had been bridges laid over it hitherto; and while he 
suspected, that if he should attempt to make a bridge, that their enemies would 
not afford him time to perfect it, and for ferry-boats they had none, — God 
promised so to dispose of the river, that they might pass over it, and that by 
taking away the main part of its waters. So Joshua, after two days, caused the 
army and the whole multitude to pass over in the manner following: — The 
priests went first of all, having the ark with them; then went the Levites bearing 
the tabernacle and the vessels which belonged to the sacrifices; after which the 
entire multitude followed, according to their tribes, having their children and 
their wives in the midst of them, as being afraid for them, lest they should be 
borne away by the stream. But as soon as the priests had entered the river first, 
it appeared fordable, the depth of the water being restrained and the sand 
appearing at the bottom, because the current was neither so strong nor so swift 
as to carry it away by its force; so they all passed over the river without fear, 
finding it to be in the very same state as God had foretold he would put it in; 
but the priests stood still in the midst of the river till the multitude should be 
passed over, and should get to the shore in safety; and when all were gone over, 
the priests came out also, and permitted the current to run freely as it used to do 
before. Accordingly the river, as soon as the Hebrews were come out of it, 
arose again presently, and came to its own proper magnitude as before. 

4. So the Hebrews went on farther fifty furlongs, and pitched their camp at 
the distance of ten furlongs from Jericho; but Joshua built an altar of those 
stones which all the heads of the tribes, at the command of the prophets, had 
taken out of the deep, to be afterwards a memorial of the division of the stream 
of this river, and upon it offered sacrifice to God; and in that place celebrated 
the passover, and had great plenty of all the things which they wanted hitherto; 
for they reaped the corn of the Canaanites, which was now ripe, and took other 
things as prey; for then it was that their former food, which was manna, and of 
which they had eaten forty years, failed them. 

5. Now while the Israelites did this, and the Canaanites did not attack them, 
but kept themselves quiet within their own walls, Joshua resolved to besiege 
them; so on the first day of the feast [of the passover], the priests carried the ark 
round about, with some part of the armed men to be a guard to it. These priests 
went forward, blowing with their seven trumpets; and exhorted the army to be 
of good courage, and went round about the city, with the senate following 
them; and when the priests had only blown with the trumpets, for they did 



nothing more at all, they returned to the camp. And when they had done this for 
six days, on the seventh Joshua gathered the armed men and all the people 
together, and told them these good tidings, that the city should now be taken, 
since God would on that day give it them, by the falling down of the walls, and 
this of their own accord, and without their labor. However, he charged them to 
kill every one they should take, and not to abstain from the slaughter of their 
enemies, either for weariness or for pity, and not to fall on the spoil, and be 
thereby diverted from pursuing their enemies as they ran away; but to destroy 
all the animals, and to take nothing for their own peculiar advantage. He 
commanded them also to bring together all the silver and gold, that it might be 
set apart as first-fruits unto God out of this glorious exploit, as having gotten 
them from the city they first took; only that they should save Rahab and her 
kindred alive, because of the oath which the spies had sworn to her. 

6. When he had said this, and had set his army in order, he brought it 
against the city: so they went round the city again, the ark going before them, 
and the priests encouraging the people to be zealous in the work; and when they 
had gone round it seven times, and had stood still a little, the wall fell down, 
while no instruments of war, nor any other force, was applied to it by the 
Hebrews. 

7. So they entered into Jericho, and slew all the men that were therein, 
while they were affrighted at the surprising overthrow of the walls, and their 
courage was become useless, and they were not able to defend themselves; so 
they were slain, and their throats cut, some in the ways, and others as caught in 
their houses; — nothing afforded them assistance, but they all perished, even to 
the women and the children; and the city was filled with dead bodies, and not 
one person escaped. They also burnt the whole city, and the country about it; 
but they saved alive Rahab, with her family, who had fled to her inn. And when 
she was brought to him, Joshua owned to her that they owed her thanks for her 
preservation of the spies: so he said he would not appear to be behind her in his 
benefaction to her; whereupon he gave her certain lands immediately, and had 
her in great esteem ever afterwards. 

8. And if any part of the city escaped the fire, he overthrew it from the 
foundation; and he denounced a curse 3 against its inhabitants, if any should 
desire to rebuild it; how, upon his laying the foundation of the walls, he should 
be deprived of his eldest son; and upon finishing it, he should lose his youngest 
son. But what happened hereupon we shall speak of hereafter. 

9. Now there was an immense quantity of silver and gold, and besides those 
of brass also, that was heaped together out of the city when it was taken, no one 
transgressing the decree, nor purloining for their own peculiar advantage; 
which spoils Joshua delivered to the priests, to be laid up among their treasures. 
And thus did Jericho perish. 



10. But there was one Achar, 4 the son [of Charmi, the son] of Zebedias, of 
the tribe of Judah, who finding a royal garment woven entirely of gold, and a 
piece of gold that weighed two hundred shekels; 5 and thinking it a very hard 
case, that what spoils he, by running some hazard, had found, he must give 
away, and offer it to God, who stood in no need of it, while he that wanted it 
must go without it, — made a deep ditch in his own tent, and laid them up 
therein, as supposing he should not only be concealed from his fellow soldiers, 
but from God himself also. 

11. Now the place where Joshua pitched his camp was called Gilgal, which 
denotes liberty; 6 for since now they had passed over Jordan, they looked on 
themselves as freed from the miseries which they had undergone from the 
Egyptians, and in the wilderness. 

12. Now, a few days after the calamity that befell Jericho, Joshua sent three 
thousand armed men to take Ai, a city situate above Jericho; but, upon the sight 
of the people of Ai, with them they were driven back, and lost thirty-six of their 
men. When this was told the Israelites, it made them very sad, and exceeding 
disconsolate, not so much because of the relation the men that were destroyed 
bare to them, though those that were destroyed were all good men, and 
deserved their esteem, as by the despair it occasioned; for while they believed 
that they were already, in effect, in possession of the land, and should bring 
back the army out of the battles without loss, as God had promised beforehand, 
they now saw unexpectedly their enemies bold with success; so they put 
sackcloth over their garments, and continued in tears and lamentation all the 
day, without the least inquiry after food, but laid what had happened greatly to 
heart. 

13. When Joshua saw the army so much afflicted, and possessed with 
forebodings of evil as to their whole expedition, he used freedom with God, 
and said, "We are not come thus far out of any rashness of our own, as though 
we thought ourselves able to subdue this land with our own weapons, but at the 
instigation of Moses thy servant for this purpose, because thou hast promised 
us, by many signs, that thou wouldst give us this land for a possession, and that 
thou wouldst make our army always superior in war to our enemies, and 
accordingly some success has already attended upon us agreeably to thy 
promises; but because we have now unexpectedly been foiled, and have lost 
some men out of our army, we are grieved at it, as fearing what thou hast 
promised us, and what Moses foretold us, cannot be depended on by us; and 
our future expectation troubles us the more, because we have met with such a 
disaster in this our first attempt. But do thou, O Lord, free us from these 
suspicions, for thou art able to find a cure for these disorders, by giving us 
victory, which will both take away the grief we are in at present, and prevent 
our distrust as to what is to come." 



14. These intercessions Joshua put up to God, as he lay prostrate on his 
face: whereupon God answered him, That he should rise up, and purify his host 
from the pollution that had got into it; that "things consecrated to me have been 
impudently stolen from me," and that "this has been the occasion why this 
defeat had happened to them"; and that when they should search out and punish 
the offender, he would ever take care they should have the victory over their 
enemies. This Joshua told the people; and calling for Eleazar the high priest, 
and the men in authority, he cast lots, tribe by tribe; and when the lot showed 
that this wicked action was done by one of the tribe of Judah, he then again 
proposed the lot to the several families thereto belonging; so the truth of this 
wicked action was found to belong to the family of Zachar; and when the 
inquiry was made man by man, they took Achar, who, upon God's reducing him 
to a terrible extremity, could not deny the fact: so he confessed the theft, and 
produced what he had taken in the midst of them, whereupon he was 
immediately put to death; and attained no more than to be buried in the night in 
a disgraceful manner, and such as was suitable to a condemned malefactor. 

15. When Joshua had thus purified the host, he led them against Ai: and 
having by night laid an ambush round about the city, he attacked the enemies as 
soon as it was day; but as they advanced boldly against the Israelites, because 
of their former victory, he made them believe he retired, and by that means 
drew them a great way from the city, they still supposing that they were 
pursuing their enemies, and despised them, as though the case had been the 
same with that in the former battle; after which Joshua ordered his forces to 
turn about, and placed them against their front. He then made the signals agreed 
upon to those that lay in ambush, and so excited them to fight; so they ran 
suddenly into the city, the inhabitants being upon the walls, nay, others of them 
being in perplexity, and coming to see those that were without the gates. 
Accordingly, these men took the city, and slew all that they met with; but 
Joshua forced those that came against him to come to a close fight, and 
discomfited them, and made them run away; and when they were driven 
towards the city, and thought it had not been touched, as soon as they saw it 
was taken, and perceived it was burnt, with their wives and children, they 
wandered about in the fields in a scattered condition, and were no way able to 
defend themselves, because they had none to support them. Now when this 
calamity was come upon the men of Ai, there were a great number of children, 
and women, and servants, and an immense quantity of other furniture. The 
Hebrews also took herds of cattle, and a great deal of money, for this was a rich 
country. So when Joshua came to Gilgal, he divided all these spoils among the 
soldiers. 

16. But the Gibeonites, who inhabited very near to Jerusalem, when they 
saw what miseries had happened to the inhabitants of Jericho; and to those of 



Ai, and suspected that the like sore calamity would come as far as themselves, 
they did not think fit to ask for mercy of Joshua; for they supposed they should 
find little mercy from him, who made war that he might entirely destroy the 
nation of the Canaanites; but they invited the people of Cephirah and 
Kiriathjearim, who were their neighbors, to join in league with them; and told 
them that neither could they themselves avoid the danger they were all in, if the 
Israelites should prevent them, and seize upon them: so when they had 
persuaded them, they resolved to endeavor to escape the forces of the Israelites. 
Accordingly, upon their agreement to what they proposed, they sent 
ambassadors to Joshua to make a league of friendship with him, and those such 
of the citizens as were best approved of, and most capable of doing what was 
most advantageous to the multitude. Now these ambassadors thought it 
dangerous to confess themselves to be Canaanites, but thought they might by 
this contrivance avoid the danger, namely, by saying that they bare no relation 
to the Canaanites at all, but dwelt at a very great distance from them: and they 
said further, that they came a long way, on account of the reputation he had 
gained for his virtue; and as a mark of the truth of what they said, they showed 
him the habit they were in, for that their clothes were new when they came out, 
but were greatly worn by the length of time they had been on their journey; for 
indeed they took torn garments, on purpose that they might make him believe 
so. So they stood in the midst of the people, and said that they were sent by the 
people of Gibeon, and of the circumjacent cities, which were very remote from 
the land where they now were, to make such a league of friendship with them, 
and this on such conditions as were customary among their forefathers; for 
when they understood that, by the favor of God, and his gift to them, they were 
to have the possession of the land of Canaan bestowed upon them, they said 
that they were very glad to hear it, and desired to be admitted into the number 
of their citizens. Thus did these ambassadors speak; and showing them the 
marks of their long journey, they entreated the Hebrews to make a league of 
friendship with them. Accordingly Joshua, believing what they said, that they 
were not of the nation of the Canaanites, entered into friendship with them; and 
Eleazar the high priest, with the senate, sware to them that they would esteem 
them their friends and associates, and would attempt nothing that should be 
unfair against them, the multitude also assenting to the oaths that were made to 
them. So these men, having obtained what they desired, by deceiving the 
Israelites, went home: but when Joshua led his army to the country at the 
bottom of the mountains of this part of Canaan, he understood that the 
Gibeonites dwelt not far from Jerusalem, and that they were of the stock of the 
Canaanites; so he sent for their governors, and reproached them with the cheat 
they had put upon him; but they alleged, on their own behalf, that they had no 
other way to save themselves but that, and were therefore forced to have 



recourse to it. So he called for Eleazar the high priest, and for the senate, who 
thought it right to make them public servants, that they might not break the oath 
they had made to them; and they ordained them to be so. And this was the 
method by which these men found safety and security under the calamity that 
was ready to overtake them. 

17. But the king of Jerusalem took it to heart that the Gibeonites had gone 
over to Joshua; so he called upon the kings of the neighboring nations to join 
together, and make war against them. Now when the Gibeonites saw these 
kings, which were four, besides the king of Jerusalem, and perceived that they 
had pitched their camp at a certain fountain not far from their city, and were 
getting ready for the siege of it, they called upon Joshua to assist them; for such 
was their case, as to expect to be destroyed by these Canaanites, but to suppose 
they should be saved by those that came for the destruction of the Canaanites, 
because of the league of friendship that was between them. Accordingly, Joshua 
made haste with his whole army to assist them, and marching day and night, in 
the morning he fell upon the enemies as they were going up to the siege; and 
when he had discomfited them, he followed them, and pursued them down the 
descent of the hills. The place is called Bethhoron; where he also understood 
that God assisted him, which he declared by thunder and thunderbolts, as also 
by the falling of hail larger than usual. Moreover, it happened that the day was 
lengthened 7 that the night might not come on too soon, and be an obstruction to 
the zeal of the Hebrews in pursuing their enemies; insomuch that Joshua took 
the kings, who were hidden in a certain cave at Makkedah, and put them to 
death. Now, that the day was lengthened at this time, and was longer than 
ordinary, is expressed in the books laid up in the temple. 8 

18. These kings which made war with, and were ready to fight the 
Gibeonites, being thus overthrown, Joshua returned again to the mountainous 
parts of Canaan; and when he had made a great slaughter of the people there, 
and took their prey, he came to the camp at Gilgal. And now there went a great 
fame abroad among the neighboring people of the courage of the Hebrews; and 
those that heard what a number of men were destroyed, were greatly affrighted 
at it: so the kings that lived about Mount Libanus, who were Canaanites, and 
those Canaanites that dwelt in the plain country, with auxiliaries out of the land 
of the Philistines, pitched their camp at Beroth, a city of the Upper Galilee, not 
far from Cadesh, which is itself also a place in Galilee. Now the number of the 
whole army was three hundred thousand armed footmen, and ten thousand 
horsemen, and twenty thousand chariots; so that the multitude of the enemies 
affrighted both Joshua himself and the Israelites; and they, instead of being full 
of hopes of good success, were superstitiously timorous, with the great terror 
with which they were stricken. Whereupon God upbraided them with the fear 
they were in, and asked them whether they desired a greater help than he could 



afford them; and promised them that they should overcome their enemies; and 
withal charged them to make their enemies' horses useless, and to burn their 
chariots. So Joshua became full of courage upon these promises of God, and 
went out suddenly against the enemies; and after five days' march he came 
upon them, and joined battle with them, and there was a terrible fight, and such 
a number were slain as could not be believed by those that heard it. He also 
went on in the pursuit a great way, and destroyed the entire army of the 
enemies, few only excepted, and all the kings fell in the battle; insomuch, that 
when there wanted men to be killed, Joshua slew their horses, and burnt their 
chariots and passed all over their country without opposition, no one daring to 
meet him in battle; but he still went on, taking their cities by siege, and again 
killing whatever he took. 

19. The fifth year was now past, and there was not one of the Canaanites 
remained any longer, excepting some that had retired to places of great 
strength. So Joshua removed his camp to the mountainous country, and placed 
the tabernacle in the city of Shiloh, for that seemed a fit place for it, because of 
the beauty of its situation, until such thee as their affairs would permit them to 
build a temple; and from thence he went to Shechem, together with all the 
people, and raised an altar where Moses had beforehand directed; then did he 
divide the army, and placed one half of them on Mount Gerizzim, and the other 
half on Mount Ebal, on which mountain the altar was; he also placed there the 
tribe of Levi, and the priests. And when they had sacrificed, and denounced the 
[blessings and the] curses, and had left them engraven upon the altar, they 
returned to Shiloh. 

20. And now Joshua was old, and saw that the cities of the Canaanites were 
not easily to be taken, not only because they were situate in such strong places, 
but because of the strength of the walls themselves, which being built round 
about, the natural strength of the places on which the cities stood, seemed 
capable of repelling their enemies from besieging them, and of making those 
enemies despair of taking them; for when the Canaanites had learned that the 
Israelites came out of Egypt in order to destroy them, they were busy all that 
time in making their cities strong. So he gathered the people together to a 
congregation at Shiloh; and when they, with great zeal and haste, were come 
thither, he observed to them what prosperous successes they had already had, 
and what glorious things had been done, and those such as were worthy of that 
God who enabled them to do those things, and worthy of the virtue of those 
laws which they followed. He took notice also, that thirty-one of those kings 
that ventured to give them battle were overcome, and every army, how great 
soever it were, that confided in their own power, and fought with them, was 
utterly destroyed; so that not so much as any of their posterity remained. And as 
for the cities, since some of them were taken, but the others must be taken in 



length of time, by long sieges, both on account of the strength of their walls, 
and of the confidence the inhabitants had in them thereby, he thought it 
reasonable that those tribes that came along with them from beyond Jordan, and 
had partaken of the dangers they had undergone, being their own kindred, 
should now be dismissed and sent home, and should have thanks for the pains 
they had taken together with them. As also, he thought it reasonable that they 
should send one man out of every tribe, and he such as had the testimony of 
extraordinary virtue, who should measure the land faithfully, and without any 
fallacy or deceit should inform them of its real magnitude. 

21. Now Joshua, when he had thus spoken to them, found that the multitude 
approved of his proposal. So he sent men to measure their country, and sent 
with them some geometricians, who could not easily fail of knowing the truth, 
on account of their skill in that art. He also gave them a charge to estimate the 
measure of that part of the land that was most fruitful, and what was not so 
good: for such is the nature of the land of Canaan, that one may see large 
plains, and such as are exceeding fit to produce fruit, which yet, if they were 
compared to other parts of the country, might be reckoned exceedingly fruitful; 
yet, if it be compared with the fields about Jericho, and to those that belong to 
Jerusalem, will appear to be of no account at all; and although it so falls out 
that these people have but a very little of this sort of land, and that it is, for the 
main, mountainous also, yet does it not come behind other parts, on account of 
its exceeding goodness and beauty; for which reason Joshua thought the land 
for the tribes should be divided by estimation of its goodness, rather than the 
largeness of its measure, it often happening that one acre of some sort of land 
was equivalent to a thousand other acres. Now the men that were sent, which 
were in number ten, traveled all about, and made an estimation of the land, and 
in the seventh month came to him to the city of Shiloh, where they had set up 
the tabernacle. 

22. So Joshua took both Eleazar and the senate, and with them the heads of 
the tribes, and distributed the land to the nine tribes, and to the half -tribe of 
Manas seh, appointing the dimensions to be according to the largeness of each 
tribe. So when he had cast lots, Judah had assigned him by lot the upper part of 
Judea, reaching as far as Jerusalem, and its breadth extended to the Lake of 
Sodom. Now in the lot of this tribe there were the cities of Askelon and Gaza. 
The lot of Simeon, which was the second, included that part of Idumea which 
bordered upon Egypt and Arabia. As to the Benjamites, their lot fell so, that its 
length reached from the river Jordan to the sea, but in breadth it was bounded 
by Jerusalem and Bethel; and this lot was the narrowest of all, by reason of the 
goodness of the land, for it included Jericho and the city of Jerusalem. The tribe 
of Ephraim had by lot the land that extended in length from the river Jordan to 
Gezer; but in breadth as far as from Bethel, till it ended at the Great Plain. The 



half-tribe of Manasseh had the land from Jordan to the city of Dora; but its 
breadth was at Bethsham, which is now called Scythopolis. And after these was 
Issachar, which had its limits in length, Mount Carmel and the river, but its 
limit in breadth was Mount Tabor. The tribe of Zebulon's lot included the land 
which lay as far as the Lake of Genes areth, and that which belonged to Carmel 
and the sea. The tribe of Aser had that part which was called the Valley, for 
such it was, and all that part which lay over-against Sidon. The city Arce 
belonged to their share, which is also named Actipus. The Naphtalites received 
the eastern parts, as far as the city of Damascus and the Upper Galilee, unto 
Mount Libanus, and the Fountains of Jordan, which rise out of that mountain; 
that is, out of that part of it whose limits belong to the neighboring city of Arce. 
The Danites' lot included all that part of the valley which respects the sun- 
setting, and were bounded by Azotus and Dora; as also they had all Jamnia and 
Gath, from Ekron to that mountain where the tribe of Judah begins. 

23. After this manner did Joshua divide the six nations that bear the name of 
the sons of Canaan, with their land, to be possessed by the nine tribes and a 
half; for Moses had prevented him, and had already distributed the land of the 
Amorites, which itself was so called also from one of the sons of Canaan, to the 
two tribes and a half, as we have shown already. But the parts about Sidon, as 
also those that belonged to the Arkites, and the Amathites, and the Aradians, 
were not yet regularly disposed of. 

24. But now was Joshua hindered by his age from executing what he 
intended to do (as did those that succeeded him in the government, take little 
care of what was for the advantage of the public); so he gave it in charge to 
every tribe to leave no remainder of the race of the Canaanites in the land that 
had been divided to them by lot; that Moses had assured them beforehand, and 
they might rest fully satisfied about it, that their own security and their 
observation of their own laws depended wholly upon it. Moreover, he enjoined 
them to give thirty-eight cities to the Levites, for they had already received ten 
in the country of the Amorites; and three of these he assigned to those that fled 
from the man-slayers, who were to inhabit there; for he was very solicitous that 
nothing should be neglected which Moses had ordained. These cities were, of 
the tribe of Judah, Hebron; of that of Ephraim, Shechem; and of that of 
Naphtali, Cadesh, which is a place of the Upper Galilee. He also distributed 
among them the rest of the prey not yet distributed, which was very great; 
whereby they had an affluence of great riches, both all in general, and every 
one in particular; and this of gold and of vestments, and of other furniture, 
besides a multitude of cattle, whose number could not be told. 

25. After this was over, he gathered the army together to a congregation, 
and spake thus to those tribes that had their settlement in the land of the 
Amorites beyond Jordan, — for fifty thousand of them had armed themselves, 



and had gone to the war along with them: — "Since that God, who is the Father 
and Lord of the Hebrew nation, has now given us this land for a possession, 
and promised to preserve us in the enjoyment of it as our own for ever; and 
since you have with alacrity offered yourselves to assist us when we wanted 
that assistance on all occasions, according to his command; it is but just, now 
all our difficulties are over, that you should be permitted to enjoy rest, and that 
we should trespass on your alacrity to help us no longer; that so, if we should 
again stand in need of it, we may readily have it on any future emergency, and 
not tire you out so much now as may make you slower in assisting us another 
thee. We, therefore, return you our thanks for the dangers you have undergone 
with us, and we do it not at this thee only, but we shall always be thus disposed; 
and be so good as to remember our friends, and to preserve in mind what 
advantages we have had from them; and how you have put off the enjoyments 
of your own happiness for our sakes, and have labored for what we have now, 
by the good- will of God, obtained, and resolved not to enjoy your own 
prosperity till you had afforded us that assistance. However, you have, by 
joining your labor with ours, gotten great plenty of riches, and will carry home 
with you much prey, with gold and silver, and, what is more than all these, our 
good-will towards you, and a mind willingly disposed to make a requital of 
your kindness to us, in what case soever you shall desire it, for you have not 
omitted any thing which Moses beforehand required of you, nor have you 
despised him because he was dead and gone from you, so that there is nothing 
to diminish that gratitude which we owe to you. We therefore dismiss you 
joyful to your own inheritances; and we entreat you to suppose, that there is no 
limit to be set to the intimate relation that is between us; and that you will not 
imagine, because this river is interposed between us, that you are of a different 
race from us, and not Hebrews; for we are all the posterity of Abraham, both 
we that inhabit here, and you that inhabit there; and it is the same God that 
brought our forefathers and yours into the world, whose worship and form of 
government we are to take care of, which he has ordained, and are most 
carefully to observe; because while you continue in those laws, God will also 
show himself merciful and assisting to you; but if you imitate the other nations, 
and forsake those laws, he will reject your nation." When Joshua had spoken 
thus, and saluted them all, both those in authority one by one, and the whole 
multitude in common, he himself staid where he was; but the people conducted 
those tribes on their journey, and that not without tears in their eyes; and indeed 
they hardly knew how to part one from the other. 

26. Now when the tribe of Reuben, and that of Gad, and as many of the 
Manas sites as followed them, were passed over the river, they built an altar on 
the banks of Jordan, as a monument to posterity, and a sign of their relation to 
those that should inhabit on the other side. But when those on the other side 



heard that those who had been dismissed had built an altar, but did not hear 
with what intention they built it, but supposed it to be by way of innovation, 
and for the introduction of strange gods, they did not incline to disbelieve it; 
but thinking this defamatory report, as if it were built for divine worship, was 
credible, they appeared in arms, as though they would avenge themselves on 
those that built the altar; and they were about to pass over the river, and to 
punish them for their subversion of the laws of their country; for they did not 
think it fit to regard them on account of their kindred or the dignity of those that 
had given the occasion, but to regard the will of God, and the manner wherein 
he desired to be worshipped; so these men put themselves in array for war. But 
Joshua, and Eleazar the high priest, and the senate, restrained them; and 
persuaded them first to make trial by words of their intention, and afterwards, if 
they found that their intention was evil, then only to proceed to make war upon 
them. Accordingly, they sent as ambassadors to them Phineas the son of 
Eleazar, and ten more persons that were in esteem among the Hebrews, to learn 
of them what was in their mind, when, upon passing over the river, they had 
built an altar upon its banks. And as soon as these ambassadors were passed 
over, and were come to them, and a congregation was assembled, Phineas stood 
up and said, that the offense they had been guilty of was of too heinous a nature 
to be punished by words alone, or by them only to be amended for the future; 
yet that they did not so look at the heinousness of their transgression as to have 
recourse to arms, and to a battle for their punishment immediately, but that, on 
account of their kindred, and the probability there was that they might be 
reclaimed, they took this method of sending an embassage to them: "That when 
we have learned the true reasons by which you have been moved to build this 
altar, we may neither seem to have been too rash in assaulting you by our 
weapons of war, if it prove that you made the altar for justifiable reasons, and 
may then justly punish you if the accusation prove true; for we can hardly 
suppose that you, who have been acquainted with the will of God and have 
been hearers of those laws which he himself hath given us, now you are 
separated from us, and gone to that patrimony of yours, which you, through the 
grace of God, and that providence which he exercises over you, have obtained 
by lot, can forget him, and can leave that ark and that altar which is peculiar to 
us, and can introduce strange gods, and imitate the wicked practices of the 
Canaanites. Now this will appear to have been a small crime if you repent now, 
and proceed no further in your madness, but pay a due reverence to, and keep 
in mind the laws of your country; but if you persist in your sins, we will not 
grudge our pains to preserve our laws; but we will pass over Jordan and defend 
them, and defend God also, and shall esteem of you as of men no way differing 
from the Canaanites, but shall destroy you in the like manner as we destroyed 
them; for do not you imagine that, because you are got over the river, you are 



got out of the reach of God's power; you are every where in places that belong 
to him, and impossible it is to overrun his power, and the punishment he will 
bring on men thereby: but if you think that your settlement here will be any 
obstruction to your conversion to what is good, nothing need hinder us from 
dividing the land anew, and leaving this old land to be for the feeding of sheep; 
but you will do well to return to your duty, and to leave off these new crimes; 
and we beseech you, by your children and wives, not to force us to punish you. 
Take therefore such measures in this assembly, as supposing that your own 
safety, and the safety of those that are dearest to you, is therein concerned, and 
believe that it is better for you to be conquered by words, than to continue in 
your purpose, and to experience deeds and war therefore." 

27. When Phineas had discoursed thus, the governors of the assembly, and 
the whole multitude, began to make an apology for themselves, concerning 
what they were accused of; and they said, that they neither would depart from 
the relation they bare to them, nor had they built the altar by way of innovation; 
that they owned one and the same common God with all the Hebrews, and that 
brazen altar which was before the tabernacle, on which they would offer their 
sacrifices; that as to the altar they had raised, on account of which they were 
thus suspected, it was not built for worship, "but that it might be a sign and a 
monument of our relation to you for ever, and a necessary caution to us to act 
wisely, and to continue in the laws of our country, but not a handle for 
transgressing them, as you suspect: and let God be our authentic witness, that 
this was the occasion of our building this altar: whence we beg you will have a 
better opinion of us, and do not impute such a thing to us as would render any 
of the posterity of Abraham well worthy of perdition, in case they attempt to 
bring in new rites, and such as are different from our usual practices." 

28. When they had made this answer, and Phineas had commended them for 
it, he came to Joshua, and explained before the people what answer they had 
received. Now Joshua was glad that he was under no necessity of setting them 
in array, or of leading them to shed blood, and make war against men of their 
own kindred; and accordingly he offered sacrifices of thanksgiving to God for 
the same. So Joshua after that dissolved this great assembly of the people, and 
sent them to their own inheritances, while he himself lived in Shechem. But in 
the twentieth year after this, when he was very old, he sent for those of the 
greatest dignity in the several cities, with those in authority, and the senate, and 
as many of the common people as could be present; and when they were come, 
he put them in mind of all the benefits God had bestowed on them, which could 
not but be a great many, since from a low estate they were advanced to so great 
a degree of glory and plenty; and exhorted them to take notice of the intentions 
of God, which had been so gracious towards them; and told them that the Deity 
would continue their friend by nothing else but their piety; and that it was 



proper for him, now that he was about to depart out of this life, to leave such an 
admonition to them; and he desired that they would keep in memory this his 
exhortation to them. 

29. So Joshua, when he had thus discoursed to them, died, having lived a 
hundred and ten years; forty of which he lived with Moses, in order to learn 
what might be for his advantage afterwards. He also became their commander 
after his death for twenty-five years. He was a man that wanted not wisdom nor 
eloquence to declare his intentions to the people, but very eminent on both 
accounts. He was of great courage and magnanimity in action and in dangers, 
and very sagacious in procuring the peace of the people, and of great virtue at 
all proper seasons. He was buried in the city of Timnah, of the tribe of 
Ephraim. 9 About the same time died Eleazar the high priest, leaving the high 
priesthood to his son Phineas. His monument also, and sepulchre, are in the city 
of Gabatha. 

CHAPTER 2 

HOW, AFTER THE DEATH OF JOSHUA THEIR COMMANDER, THE 
ISRAELITES TRANSGRESSED THE LAWS OF THEIR COUNTRY, AND 
EXPERIENCED GREAT AFFLICTIONS; AND WHEN THERE WAS A 
SEDITION ARISEN, THE TRIBE OF BENJAMIN WAS DESTROYED 
EXCEPTING ONLY SIX HUNDRED MEN 



1. After the death of Joshua and Eleazar, Phineas prophesied, 10 that according 
to God's will they should commit the government to the tribe of Judah, and that 
this tribe should destroy the race of the Canaanites; for then the people were 
concerned to learn what was the will of God. They also took to their assistance 
the tribe of Simeon; but upon this condition, that when those that had been 
tributary to the tribe of Judah should be slain, they should do the like for the 
tribe of Simeon. 

2. But the affairs of the Canaanites were at this time in a flourishing 
condition, and they expected the Israelites with a great army at the city Bezek, 
having put the government into the hands of Adonibezek, which name denotes 
the Lord of Bezek, for Adoni in the Hebrew tongue signifies Lord. Now they 
hoped to have been too hard for the Israelites, because Joshua was dead; but 
when the Israelites had joined battle with them, I mean the two tribes before 
mentioned, they fought gloriously, and slew above ten thousand of them, and 
put the rest to flight; and in the pursuit they took Adonibezek, who, when his 
fingers and toes were cut off by them, said, "Nay, indeed, I was not always to 
lie concealed from God, as I find by what I now endure, while I have not been 



ashamed to do the same to seventy-two kings." 11 So they carried him alive as 
far as Jerusalem; and when he was dead, they buried him in the earth, and went 
on still in taking the cities: and when they had taken the greatest part of them, 
they besieged Jerusalem; and when they had taken the lower city, which was 
not under a considerable time, they slew all the inhabitants; but the upper city 
was not to be taken without great difficulty, through the strength of its walls, 
and the nature of the place. 

3. For which reason they removed their camp to Hebron; and when they 
had taken it, they slew all the inhabitants. There were till then left the race of 
giants, who had bodies so large, and countenances so entirely different from 
other men, that they were surprising to the sight, and terrible to the hearing. The 
bones of these men are still shown to this very day, unlike to any credible 
relations of other men. Now they gave this city to the Levites as an 
extraordinary reward, with the suburbs of two thousand cities; but the land 
thereto belonging they gave as a free gift to Caleb, according to the injunctions 
of Moses. This Caleb was one of the spies which Moses sent into the land of 
Canaan. They also gave land for habitation to the posterity of Jethro, the 
Midianite, who was the father-in-law to Moses; for they had left their own 
country, and followed them, and accompanied them in the wilderness. 

4. Now the tribes of Judah and Simeon took the cities which were in the 
mountainous part of Canaan, as also Askelon and Ashdod, of those that lay near 
the sea; but Gaza and Ekron escaped them, for they, lying in a flat country, and 
having a great number of chariots, sorely galled those that attacked them. So 
these tribes, when they were grown very rich by this war, retired to their own 
cities, and laid aside their weapons of war. 

5. But the Benjamites, to whom belonged Jerusalem, permitted its 
inhabitants to pay tribute. So they all left off, the one to kill, and the other to 
expose themselves to danger, and had time to cultivate the ground. The rest of 
the tribes imitated that of Benjamin, and did the same; and, contenting 
themselves with the tributes that were paid them, permitted the Canaanites to 
live in peace. 

6. However, the tribe of Ephraim, when they besieged Bethel, made no 
advance, nor performed any thing worthy of the time they spent, and of the 
pains they took about that siege; yet did they persist in it, still sitting down 
before the city, though they endured great trouble thereby: but, after some time, 
they caught one of the citizens that came to them to get necessaries, and they 
gave him some assurances that, if he would deliver up the city to them, they 
would preserve him and his kindred; so he aware that, upon those terms, he 
would put the city into their hands. Accordingly, he that, thus betrayed the city 
was preserved with his family; and the Israelites slew all the inhabitants, and 
retained the city for themselves. 



7. After this, the Israelites grew effeminate as to fighting any more against 
their enemies, but applied themselves to the cultivation of the land, which 
producing them great plenty and riches, they neglected the regular disposition 
of their settlement, and indulged themselves in luxury and pleasures; nor were 
they any longer careful to hear the laws that belonged to their political 
government: whereupon God was provoked to anger, and put them in mind, 
first, how, contrary to his directions, they had spared the Canaanites; and, after 
that, how those Canaanites, as opportunity served, used them very barbarously. 
But the Israelites, though they were in heaviness at these admonitions from 
God, yet were they still very unwilling to go to war; and since they got large 
tributes from the Canaanites, and were indisposed for taking pains by their 
luxury, they suffered their aristocracy to be corrupted also, and did not ordain 
themselves a senate, nor any other such magistrates as their laws had formerly 
required, but they were very much given to cultivating their fields, in order to 
get wealth; which great indolence of theirs brought a terrible sedition upon 
them, and they proceeded so far as to fight one against another, from the 
following occasion: — 

8. There was a Levite 12 a man of a vulgar family, that belonged to the tribe 
of Ephraim, and dwelt therein: this man married a wife from Bethlehem, which 
is a place belonging to the tribe of Judah. Now he was very fond of his wife, 
and overcome with her beauty; but he was unhappy in this, that he did not meet 
with the like return of affection from her, for she was averse to him, which did 
more inflame his passion for her, so that they quarreled one with another 
perpetually; and at last the woman was so disgusted at these quarrels, that she 
left her husband, and went to her parents in the fourth month. The husband 
being very uneasy at this her departure, and that out of his fondness for her, 
came to his father and mother-in-law, and made up their quarrels, and was 
reconciled to her, and lived with them there four days, as being kindly treated 
by her parents. On the fifth day he resolved to go home, and went away in the 
evening; for his wife's parents were loath to part with their daughter, and 
delayed the time till the day was gone. Now they had one servant that followed 
them, and an ass on which the woman rode; and when they were near 
Jerusalem, having gone already thirty furlongs, the servant advised them to take 
up their lodgings somewhere, lest some misfortune should befall them if they 
traveled in the night, especially since they were not far off enemies, that season 
often giving reason for suspicion of dangers from even such as are friends; but 
the husband was not pleased with this advice, nor was he willing to take up his 
lodging among strangers, for the city belonged to the Canaanites, but desired 
rather to go twenty furlongs farther, and so to take their lodgings in some 
Israelite city. Accordingly, he obtained his purpose, and came to Gibeah, a city 
of the tribe of Benjamin, when it was just dark; and while no one that lived in 



the market-place invited him to lodge with him, there came an old man out of 
the field, one that was indeed of the tribe of Ephraim, but resided in Gibeah, 
and met him, and asked him who he was, and for what reason he came thither 
so late, and why he was looking out for provisions for supper when it was dark? 
To which he replied, that he was a Levite, and was bringing his wife from her 
parents, and was going home; but he told him his habitation was in the tribe of 
Ephraim: so the old man, as well because of their kindred as because they lived 
in the same tribe, and also because they had thus accidentally met together, 
took him in to lodge with him. Now certain young men of the inhabitants of 
Gibeah, having seen the woman in the market-place, and admiring her beauty, 
when they understood that she lodged with the old man, came to the doors, as 
contemning the weakness and fewness of the old man's family; and when the 
old man desired them to go away, and not to offer any violence or abuse there, 
they desired him to yield them up the strange woman, and then he should have 
no harm done to him: and when the old man alleged that the Levite was of his 
kindred, and that they would be guilty of horrid wickedness if they suffered 
themselves to be overcome by their pleasures, and so offend against their laws, 
they despised his righteous admonition, and laughed him to scorn. They also 
threatened to kill him if he became an obstacle to their inclinations; whereupon, 
when he found himself in great distress, and yet was not willing to overlook his 
guests, and see them abused, he produced his own daughter to them; and told 
them that it was a smaller breach of the law to satisfy their lust upon her, than 
to abuse his guests, supposing that he himself should by this means prevent any 
injury to be done to those guests. When they no way abated of their earnestness 
for the strange woman, but insisted absolutely on their desires to have her, he 
entreated them not to perpetrate any such act of injustice; but they proceeded to 
take her away by force, and indulging still more the violence of their 
inclinations, they took the woman away to their house, and when they had 
satisfied their lust upon her the whole night, they let her go about daybreak. So 
she came to the place where she had been entertained, under great affliction at 
what had happened; and was very sorrowful upon occasion of what she had 
suffered, and durst not look her husband in the face for shame, for she 
concluded that he would never forgive her for what she had done; so she fell 
down, and gave up the ghost: but her husband supposed that his wife was only 
fast asleep, and, thinking nothing of a more melancholy nature had happened, 
endeavored to raise her up, resolving to speak comfortably to her, since she did 
not voluntarily expose herself to these men's lust, but was forced away to their 
house; but as soon as he perceived she was dead, he acted as prudently as the 
greatness of his misfortunes would admit, and laid his dead wife upon the 
beast, and carried her home; and cutting her, limb by limb, into twelve pieces, 
he sent them to every tribe, and gave it in charge to those that carried them, to 



inform the tribes of those that were the causes of his wife's death, and of the 
violence they had offered to her. 

9. Upon this the people were greatly disturbed at what they saw, and at what 
they heard, as never having had the experience of such a thing before; so they 
gathered themselves to Shiloh, out of a prodigious and a just anger, and 
assembling in a great congregation before the tabernacle, they immediately 
resolved to take arms, and to treat the inhabitants of Gibeah as enemies; but the 
senate restrained them from doing so, and persuaded them, that they ought not 
so hastily to make war upon people of the same nation with them, before they 
discoursed them by words concerning the accusation laid against them; it being 
part of their law, that they should not bring an army against foreigners 
themselves, when they appear to have been injurious, without sending an 
ambassage first, and trying thereby whether they will repent or not: and 
accordingly they exhorted them to do what they ought to do in obedience to 
their laws, that is, to send to the inhabitants of Gibeah, to know whether they 
would deliver up the offenders to them, and if they deliver them up, to rest 
satisfied with the punishment of those offenders; but if they despised the 
message that was sent them, to punish them by taking up arms against them. 
Accordingly they sent to the inhabitants of Gibeah, and accused the young men 
of the crimes committed in the affair of the Levite's wife, and required of them 
those that had done what was contrary to the law, that they might be punished, 
as having justly deserved to die for what they had done; but the inhabitants of 
Gibeah would not deliver up the young men, and thought it too reproachful to 
them, out of fear of war, to submit to other men's demands upon them; vaunting 
themselves to be no way inferior to any in war, neither in their number nor in 
courage. The rest of their tribe were also making great preparation for war, for 
they were so insolently mad as also to resolve to repel force by force. 

10. When it was related to the Israelites what the inhabitants of Gibeah had 
resolved upon, they took their oath that no one of them would give his daughter 
in marriage to a Benjamite, but make war with greater fury against them than 
we have learned our forefathers made war against the Canaanites; and sent out 
presently an army of four hundred thousand against them, while the 
Benjamites' army-was twenty-five thousand and six hundred; five hundred of 
whom were excellent at slinging stones with their left hands, insomuch that 
when the battle was joined at Gibeah the Benjamites beat the Israelites, and of 
them there fell two thousand men; and probably more had been destroyed had 
not the night came on and prevented it, and broken off the fight; so the 
Benjamites returned to the city with joy, and the Israelites returned to their 
camp in a great fright at what had happened. On the next day, when they fought 
again, the Benjamites beat them; and eighteen thousand of the Israelites were 
slain, and the rest deserted their camp out of fear of a greater slaughter. So they 



came to Bethel, 13 a city that was near their camp, and fasted on the next day; 
and besought God, by Phineas the high priest, that his wrath against them might 
cease, and that he would be satisfied with these two defeats, and give them the 
victory and power over their enemies. Accordingly God promised them so to 
do, by the prophesying of Phineas. 

11. When therefore they had divided the army into two parts, they laid the 
one half of them in ambush about the city Gibeah by night, while the other half 
attacked the Benjamites, who retiring upon the assault, the Benjamites pursued 
them, while the Hebrews retired by slow degrees, as very desirous to draw 
them entirely from the city; and the other followed them as they retired, till 
both the old men and the young men that were left in the city, as too weak to 
fight, came running out together with them, as willing to bring their enemies 
under. However, when they were a great way from the city the Hebrews ran 
away no longer, but turned back to fight them, and lifted up the signal they had 
agreed on to those that lay in ambush, who rose up, and with a great noise fell 
upon the enemy. Now, as soon as ever they perceived themselves to be 
deceived, they knew not what to do; and when they were driven into a certain 
hollow place which was in a valley, they were shot at by those that 
encompassed them, till they were all destroyed, excepting six hundred, which 
formed themselves into a close body of men, and forced their passage through 
the midst of their enemies, and fled to the neighboring mountains, and, seizing 
upon them, remained there; but the rest of them, being about twenty-five 
thousand, were slain. Then did the Israelites burn Gibeah, and slew the women, 
and the males that were under age; and did the same also to the other cities of 
the Benjamites; and, indeed, they were enraged to that degree, that they sent 
twelve thousand men out of the army, and gave them orders to destroy Jabesh 
Gilead, because it did not join with them in fighting against the Benjamites. 
Accordingly, those that were sent slew the men of war, with their children and 
wives, excepting four hundred virgins. To such a degree had they proceeded in 
their anger, because they not only had the suffering of the Levite's wife to 
avenge, but the slaughter of their own soldiers. 

12. However, they afterward were sorry for the calamity they had brought 
upon the Benjamites, and appointed a fast on that account, although they 
supposed those men had suffered justly for their offense against the laws; so 
they recalled by their ambassadors those six hundred which had escaped. These 
had seated themselves on a certain rock called Rimmon, which was in the 
wilderness. So the ambassadors lamented not only the disaster that had befallen 
the Benjamites, but themselves also, by this destruction of their kindred; and 
persuaded them to take it patiently; and to come and unite with them, and not, 
so far as in them lay, to give their suffrage to the utter destruction of the tribe of 
Benjamin; and said to them, "We give you leave to take the whole land of 



Benjamin to yourselves, and as much prey as you are able to carry away with 
you." So these men with sorrow confessed, that what had been done was 
according to the decree of God, and had happened for their own wickedness; 
and assented to those that invited them, and came down to their own tribe. The 
Israelites also gave them the four hundred virgins of Jabesh Gilead for wives; 
but as to the remaining two hundred, they deliberated about it how they might 
compass wives enough for them, and that they might have children by them; 
and whereas they had, before the war began, taken an oath, that no one would 
give his daughter to wife to a Benjamite, some advised them to have no regard 
to what they had sworn, because the oath had not been taken advisedly and 
judiciously, but in a passion, and thought that they should do nothing against 
God, if they were able to save a whole tribe which was in danger of perishing; 
and that perjury was then a sad and dangerous thing, not when it is done out of 
necessity, but when it is done with a wicked intention. But when the senate 
were affrighted at the very name of perjury, a certain person told them that he 
could show them a way whereby they might procure the Benjamites wives 
enough, and yet keep their oath. They asked him what his proposal was. He 
said, "That three times in a year, when we meet in Shiloh, our wives and our 
daughters accompany us: let then the Benjamites be allowed to steal away, and 
marry such women as they can catch, while we will neither incite them nor 
forbid them; and when their parents take it ill, and desire us to inflict 
punishment upon them, we will tell them, that they were themselves the cause 
of what had happened, by neglecting to guard their daughters, and that they 
ought not to be over angry at the Benjamites, since that anger was permitted to 
rise too high already." So the Israelites were persuaded to follow this advice, 
and decreed, that the Benjamites should be allowed thus to steal themselves 
wives. So when the festival was coming on, these two hundred Benjamites lay 
in ambush before the city, by two and three together, and waited for the coming 
of the virgins, in the vineyards and other places where they could lie concealed. 
Accordingly the virgins came along playing, and suspected nothing of what 
was coming upon them, and walked after an unguarded manner, so those that 
laid scattered in the road, rose up, and caught hold of them: by this means these 
Benjamites got them wives, and fell to agriculture, and took good care to 
recover their former happy state. And thus was this tribe of the Benjamites, 
after they had been in danger of entirely perishing, saved in the manner 
forementioned, by the wisdom of the Israelites; and accordingly it presently 
flourished, and soon increased to be a multitude, and came to enjoy all other 
degrees of happiness. And such was the conclusion of this war. 

CHAPTER 3 



HOW THE ISRAELITES AFTER THIS MISFORTUNE GREW WICKED 
AND SERVED THE ASSYRIANS; AND HOW GOD DELIVERED THEM 
BY OTHNIEL, WHO RULED OVER THEM FORTY YEARS 

1. Now it happened that the tribe of Dan suffered in like manner with the tribe 
of Benjamin; and it came to do so on the occasion following: — When the 
Israelites had already left off the exercise of their arms for war, and were intent 
upon their husbandry, the Canaanites despised them, and brought together an 
army, not because they expected to suffer by them, but because they had a mind 
to have a sure prospect of treating the Hebrews ill when they pleased, and 
might thereby for the time to come dwell in their own cities the more securely; 
they prepared therefore their chariots, and gathered their soldiery together, their 
cities also combined together, and drew over to them Askelon and Ekron, 
which were within the tribe of Judah, and many more of those that lay in the 
plain. They also forced the Danites to fly into the mountainous country, and left 
them not the least portion of the plain country to set their foot on. Since then 
these Danites were not able to fight them, and had not land enough to sustain 
them, they sent five of their men into the midland country, to seek for a land to 
which they might remove their habitation. So these men went as far as the 
neighborhood of Mount Libanus, and the fountains of the Lesser Jordan, at the 
great plain of Sidon, a day's journey from the city; and when they had taken a 
view of the land, and found it to be good and exceeding fruitful, they 
acquainted their tribe with it, whereupon they made an expedition with the 
army, and built there the city Dan, of the same name with the son of Jacob, and 
of the same name with their own tribe. 

2. The Israelites grew so indolent, and unready of taking pains, that 
misfortunes came heavier upon them, which also proceeded in part from their 
contempt of the Divine worship; for when they had once fallen off from the 
regularity of their political government, they indulged themselves further in 
living according to their own pleasure, and according to their own will, till they 
were full of the evil doings that were common among the Canaanites. God 
therefore was angry with them, and they lost that their happy state which they 
had obtained by innumerable labors, by their luxury; for when Chusan, king of 
the Assyrians, had made war against them, they lost many of their soldiers in 
the battle, and when they were besieged, they were taken by force; nay, there 
were some who, out of fear, voluntarily submitted to him, and though the 
tribute laid upon them was more than they could bear, yet did they pay it, and 
underwent all sort of oppression for eight years; after which time they were 
freed from them in the following manner: — 

3. There was one whose name was Othniel, the son of Kenaz, of the tribe of 
Judah, an active man and of great courage. He had an admonition from God not 



to overlook the Israelites in such a distress as they were now in, but to endeavor 
boldly to gain them their liberty; so when he had procured some to assist him in 
this dangerous undertaking, (and few they were, who, either out of shame at 
their present circumstances, or out of a desire of changing them, could be 
prevailed on to assist him,) he first of all destroyed that garrison which Chusan 
had set over them; but when it was perceived that he had not failed in his first 
attempt, more of the people came to his assistance; so they joined battle with 
the Assyrians, and drove them entirely before them, and compelled them to 
pass over Euphrates. Hereupon Othniel, who had given such proofs of his valor, 
received from the multitude authority to judge the people; and when he had 
ruled over them forty years, he died. 

CHAPTER 4 

HOW OUR PEOPLE SERVED THE MOABITES EIGHTEEN YEARS, AND 
WERE THEN DELIVERED FROM SLAVERY BY ONE EHUD WHO 
RETAINED THE DOMINION EIGHTY YEARS 



1. 1. When Othniel was dead, the affairs of the Israelites fell again into 
disorder: and while they neither paid to God the honor due to him, nor were 
obedient to the laws, their afflictions increased, till Eglon, king of the Moabites, 
did so greatly despise them on account of the disorders of their political 
government, that he made war upon them, and overcame them in several 
battles, and made the most courageous to submit, and entirely subdued their 
army, and ordered them to pay him tribute. And when he had built him a royal 
palace at Jericho, 14 he omitted no method whereby he might distress them; and 
indeed he reduced them to poverty for eighteen years. But when God had once 
taken pity of the Israelites, on account of their afflictions, and was moved to 
compassion by their supplications put up to him, he freed them from the hard 
usage they had met with under the Moabites. This liberty he procured for them 
in the following manner; — 

2. There was a young man of the tribe of Benjamin, whose name was Ehud, 
the son of Gera, a man of very great courage in bold undertakings, and of a 
very strong body, fit for hard labor, but best skilled in using his left hand, in 
which was his whole strength; and he also dwelt at Jericho. Now this man 
became familiar with Eglon, and that by means of presents, with which he 
obtained his favor, and insinuated himself into his good opinion; whereby he 
was also beloved of those that were about the king. Now, when on a time, he 
was bringing presents to the king, and had two servants with him, he put a 
dagger on his right thigh secretly, and went in to him: it was then summer time, 



and the middle of the day, when the guards were not strictly on their watch, 
both because of the heat, and because they were gone to dinner. So the young 
man, when he had offered his presents to the king, who then resided in a small 
parlor that stood conveniently to avoid the heat, fell into discourse with him, 
for they were now alone, the king having bid his servants that attended him to 
go their ways, because he had a mind to talk with Ehud. He was now sitting on 
his throne; and fear seized upon Ehud lest he should miss his stroke, and not 
give him a deadly wound; so he raised himself up, and said he had a dream to 
impart to him by the command of God; upon which the king leaped out of his 
throne for joy of the dream; so Ehud smote him to the heart, and leaving his 
dagger in his body, he went out and shut the door after him. Now the king's 
servants were very still, as supposing that the king had composed himself to 
sleep. 

3. Hereupon Ehud informed the people of Jericho privately of what he had 
done, and exhorted them to recover their liberty; who heard him gladly, and 
went to their arms, and sent messengers over the country, that should sound 
trumpets of rams' horns; for it was our custom to call the people together by 
them. Now the attendants of Eglon were ignorant of what misfortune had 
befallen him for a great while; but, towards the evening, fearing some 
uncommon accident had happened, they entered into his parlor, and when they 
found him dead, they were in great disorder, and knew not what to do; and 
before the guards could be got together, the multitude of the Israelites came 
upon them, so that some of them were slain immediately, and some were put to 
flight, and ran away toward the country of Moab, in order to save themselves. 
Their number was above ten thousand. The Israelites seized upon the ford of 
Jordan, and pursued them, and slew them, and many of them they killed at the 
ford, nor did one of them escape out of their hands; and by this means it was 
that the Hebrews freed themselves from slavery under the Moabites. Ehud also 
was on this account dignified with the government over all the multitude, and 
died after he had held the government eighty years. 15 He was a man worthy of 
commendation, even besides what he deserved for the forementioned act of his. 
After him Shamgar, the son of Anath, was elected for their governor, but died in 
the first year of his government. 

CHAPTER 5 

HOW THE CANAANITES BROUGHT THE ISRAELITES UNDER 
SLAVERY FOR TWENTY YEARS; AFTER WHICH THEY WERE 
DELIVERED BY BARAK AND DEBORAH, WHO RULED OVER THEM 
FOR FORTY YEARS 



1. And now it was that the Israelites, taking no warning by their former 
misfortunes to amend their manners, and neither worshipping God nor 
submitting to the laws, were brought under slavery by Jabin, the king of the 
Canaanites, and that before they had a short breathing time after the slavery 
under the Moabites; for this Jabin out of Hazor, a city that was situate over the 
Semechonitis, and had in pay three hundred footmen, and ten thousand 
horsemen, with fewer than three thousand chariots. Sisera was commander of 
all his army, and was the principal person in the king's favor. He so sorely beat 
the Israelites when they fought with him, that he ordered them to pay tribute. 

2. So they continued to that hardship for twenty years, as not good enough 
of themselves to grow wise by their misfortunes. God was willing also hereby 
the more to subdue their obstinacy and ingratitude towards himself: so when at 
length they were become penitent, and were so wise as to learn that their 
calamities arose from their contempt of the laws, they besought Deborah, a 
certain prophetess among them, (which name in the Hebrew tongue signifies a 
Bee,) to pray to God to take pity on them, and not to overlook them, now they 
were ruined by the Canaanites. So God granted them deliverance, and chose 
them a general, Barak, one that was of the tribe of Naphtali. Now Barak, in the 
Hebrew tongue, signifies Lightning. 

3. So Deborah sent for Barak, and bade him choose out ten thousand young 
men to go against the enemy, because God had said that that number was 
sufficient, and promised them victory. But when Barak said that he would not 
be the general unless she would also go as a general with him, she had 
indignation at what he said "Thou, O Barak, deliverest up meanly that authority 
which God hath given thee into the hand of a woman, and I do not reject it!" So 
they collected ten thousand men, and pitched their camp at Mount Tabor, 
where, at the king's command, Sisera met them, and pitched his camp not far 
from the enemy; whereupon the Israelites, and Barak himself, were so 
affrighted at the multitude of those enemies, that they were resolved to march 
off, had not Deborah retained them, and commanded them to fight the enemy 
that very day, for that they should conquer them, and God would be their 
assistance. 

4. So the battle began; and when they were come to a close fight, there 
came down from heaven a great storm, with a vast quantity of rain and hail, and 
the wind blew the rain in the face of the Canaanites, and so darkened their eyes, 
that their arrows and slings were of no advantage to them, nor would the 
coldness of the air permit the soldiers to make use of their swords; while this 
storm did not so much incommode the Israelites, because it came in their backs. 
They also took such courage, upon the apprehension that God was assisting 
them, that they fell upon the very midst of their enemies, and slew a great 



number of them; so that some of them fell by the Israelites, some fell by their 
own horses, which were put into disorder, and not a few were killed by their 
own chariots. At last Sisera, as soon as he saw himself beaten, fled away, and 
came to a woman whose name was Jael, a Kenite, who received him, when he 
desired to be concealed; and when he asked for somewhat to drink, she gave 
him sour milk, of which he drank so unmeasurably that he fell asleep; but when 
he was asleep, Jael took an iron nail, and with a hammer drove it through his 
temples into the floor; and when Barak came a little afterward, she showed 
Sisera nailed to the ground: and thus was this victory gained by a woman, as 
Deborah had foretold. Barak also fought with Jabin at Hazor; and when he met 
with him, he slew him: and when the general was fallen, Barak overthrew the 
city to the foundation, and was the commander of the Israelites for forty years. 

CHAPTER 6 

HOW THE MIDIANITES AND OTHER NATIONS FOUGHT AGAINST 
THE ISRAELITES AND BEAT THEM, AND AFFLICTED THEIR 
COUNTRY FOR SEVEN YEARS; HOW THEY WERE DELIVERED BY 
GIDEON, WHO RULED OVER THE MULTITUDE FOR FORTY YEARS 

1. Now when Barak and Deborah were dead, whose deaths happened about the 
same time, afterwards the Midianites called the Amalekites and Arabians to 
their assistance, and made war against the Israelites, and were too hard for 
those that fought against them; and when they had burnt the fruits of the earth, 
they carried off the prey. Now when they had done this for three years, the 
multitude of the Israelites retired to the mountains, and forsook the plain 
country. They also made themselves hollows under ground, and caverns, and 
preserved therein whatsoever had escaped their enemies; for the Midianites 
made expeditions in harvest-time, but permitted them to plough the land in 
winter, that so, when the others had taken the pains, they might have fruits for 
them to carry away. Indeed, there ensued a famine and a scarcity of food; upon 
which they betook themselves to their supplications to God, and besought him 
to save them. 

2. Gideon also, the son of Joash, one of the principal persons of the tribe of 
Manas seh, brought his sheaves of corn privately, and thrashed them at the 
wine-press; for he was too fearful of their enemies to thrash them openly in the 
thrashing-floor. At this time somewhat appeared to him in the shape of a young 
man, and told him that he was a happy man, and beloved of God. To which he 
immediately replied, "A mighty indication of God's favor to me, that I am 
forced to use this wine-press instead of a thrashing-floor!" But the appearance 



exhorted him to be of good courage, and to make an attempt for the recovery of 
their liberty. He answered, that it was impossible for him to recover it, because 
the tribe to which he belonged was by no means numerous; and because he was 
but young himself, and too inconsiderable to think of such great actions. But 
the other promised him, that God would supply what he was defective in, and 
would afford the Israelites victory under his conduct. 

3. Now, therefore, as Gideon was relating this to some young men, they 
believed him, and immediately there was an army of ten thousand men got 
ready for fighting. But God stood by Gideon in his sleep, and told him that 
mankind were too fond of themselves, and were enemies to such as excelled in 
virtue. Now that they might not pass God over, but ascribe the victory to him, 
and might not fancy it obtained by their own power, because they were a great 
many, and able of themselves to fight their enemies, but might confess that it 
was owing to his assistance, he advised him to bring his army about noon, in 
the violence of the heat, to the river, and to esteem those that bent down on 
their knees, and so drank, to be men of courage; but for all those that drank 
tumultuously, that he should esteem them to do it out of fear, and as in dread of 
their enemies. And when Gideon had done as God had suggested to him, there 
were found three hundred men that took water with their hands tumultuously; 
so God bid him take these men, and attack the enemy. Accordingly they pitched 
their camp at the river Jordan, as ready the next day to pass over it. 

4. But Gideon was in great fear, for God had told him beforehand that he 
should set upon his enemies in the night-time; but God, being willing to free 
him from his fear, bid him take one of his soldiers, and go near to the 
Midianites' tents, for that he should from that very place have his courage 
raised, and grow bold. So he obeyed, and went and took his servant Phurah 
with him; and as he came near to one of the tents, he discovered that those that 
were in it were awake, and that one of them was telling to his fellow soldier a 
dream of his own, and that so plainly that Gideon could hear him. The dream 
was this: — He thought he saw a barley-cake, such a one as could hardly be 
eaten by men, it was so vile, rolling through the camp, and overthrowing the 
royal tent, and the tents of all the soldiers. Now the other soldier explained this 
vision to mean the destruction of the army; and told them what his reason was 
which made him so conjecture, viz. That the seed called barley was all of it 
allowed to be of the vilest sort of seed, and that the Israelites were known to be 
the vilest of all the people of Asia, agreeably to the seed of barley, and that 
what seemed to look big among the Israelites was this Gideon and the army that 
was with him; "and since thou sayest thou didst see the cake overturning our 
tents, I am afraid lest God hath granted the victory over us to Gideon." 

5. When Gideon had heard this dream, good hope and courage came upon 
him; and he commanded his soldiers to arm themselves, and told them of this 



vision of their enemies. They also took courage at what was told them, and 
were ready to perform what he should enjoin them. So Gideon divided his army 
into three parts, and brought it out about the fourth watch of the night, each part 
containing a hundred men: they all bare empty pitchers and lighted lamps in 
their hands, that their onset might not be discovered by their enemies. They had 
also each of them a ram's horn in his right hand, which he used instead of a 
trumpet. The enemy's camp took up a large space of ground, for it happened 
that they had a great many camels; and as they were divided into different 
nations, so they were all contained in one circle. Now when the Hebrews did as 
they were ordered beforehand, upon their approach to their enemies, and, on 
the signal given, sounded with their rams' horns, and brake their pitchers, and 
set upon their enemies with their lamps, and a great shout, and cried, "Victory 
to Gideon, by God's assistance," a disorder and a fright seized upon the other 
men while they were half asleep, for it was night-time, as God would have it; 
so that a few of them were slain by their enemies, but the greatest part by their 
own soldiers, on account of the diversity of their language; and when they were 
once put into disorder, they killed all that they met with, as thinking them to be 
enemies also. Thus there was a great slaughter made. And as the report of 
Gideon's victory came to the Israelites, they took their weapons and pursued 
their enemies, and overtook them in a certain valley encompassed with torrents, 
a place which these could not get over; so they encompassed them, and slew 
them all, with their kings, Oreb and Zeeb. But the remaining captains led those 
soldiers that were left, which were about eighteen thousand, and pitched their 
camp a great way off the Israelites. However, Gideon did not grudge his pains, 
but pursued them with all his army, and joining battle with them, cut off the 
whole enemies' army, and took the other leaders, Zeba and Zalmuna, and made 
them captives. Now there were slain in this battle of the Midianites, and of their 
auxiliaries the Arabians, about a hundred and twenty thousand; and the 
Hebrews took a great prey, gold, and silver, and garments, and camels, and 
asses. And when Gideon was come to his own country of Ophrah, he slew the 
kings of the Midianites. 

6. However, the tribe of Ephraim was so displeased at the good success of 
Gideon, that they resolved to make war against him, accusing him because he 
did not tell them of his expedition against their enemies. But Gideon, as a man 
of temper, and that excelled in every virtue, pleaded, that it was not the result of 
his own authority or reasoning, that made him attack the enemy without them; 
but that it was the command of God, and still the victory belonged to them as 
well as those in the army. And by this method of cooling their passions, he 
brought more advantage to the Hebrews, than by the success he had against 
these enemies, for he thereby delivered them from a sedition which was arising 
among them; yet did this tribe afterwards suffer the punishment of this their 



injurious treatment of Gideon, of which we will give an account in due time. 

7. Hereupon Gideon would have laid down the government, but was over- 
persuaded to take it, which he enjoyed forty years, and distributed justice to 
them, as the people came to him in their differences; and what he determined 
was esteemed valid by all. And when he died, he was buried in his own country 
of Ophrah. 

CHAPTER 7 

THAT THE JUDGES WHO SUCCEEDED GIDEON MADE WAR WITH 
THE ADJOINING NATIONS FOR A LONG TIME 



1. Now Gideon had seventy sons that were legitimate, for he had many wives; 
but he had also one that was spurious, by his concubine Drumah, whose name 
was Abimelech, who, after his father's death, retired to Shechem to his mother's 
relations, for they were of that place: and when he had got money of such of 
them as were eminent for many instances of injustice, he came with them to his 
father's house, and slew all his brethren, except Jotham, for he had the good 
fortune to escape and be preserved; but Abimelech made the government 
tyrannical, and constituted himself a lord, to do what he pleased, instead of 
obeying the laws; and he acted most rigidly against those that were the patrons 
of justice. 

2. Now when, on a certain time, there was a public festival at Shechem, and 
all the multitude was there gathered together, Jotham his brother, whose escape 
we before related, went up to Mount Gerizzim, which hangs over the city 
Shechem, and cried out so as to be heard by the multitude, who were attentive 
to him. He desired they would consider what he was going to say to them: so 
when silence was made, he said, that when the trees had a human voice, and 
there was an assembly of them gathered together, they desired that the fig-tree 
would rule over them; but when that tree refused so to do, because it was 
contented to enjoy that honor which belonged peculiarly to the fruit it bare, and 
not that which should be derived to it from abroad, the trees did not leave off 
their intentions to have a ruler, so they thought proper to make the offer of that 
honor to the vine; but when the vine was chosen, it made use of the same words 
which the fig-tree had used before, and excused itself from accepting the 
government: and when the olive-tree had done the same, the brier, whom the 
trees had desired to take the kingdom, (it is a sort of wood good for firing,) it 
promised to take the government, and to be zealous in the exercise of it; but 
that then they must sit down under its shadow, and if they should plot against it 
to destroy it, the principle of fire that was in it should destroy them. He told 



them, that what he had said was no laughing matter; for that when they had 
experienced many blessings from Gideon, they overlooked Abimelech, when 
he overruled all, and had joined with him in slaying his brethren; and that he 
was no better than a fire himself. So when he had said this, he went away, and 
lived privately in the mountains for three years, out of fear of Abimelech. 

3. A little while after this festival, the Shechemites, who had now repented 
themselves of having slain the sons of Gideon, drove Abimelech away, both 
from their city and their tribe; whereupon he contrived how he might distress 
their city. Now at the season of vintage, the people were afraid to go out and 
gather their fruits, for fear Abimelech should do them some mischief. Now it 
happened that there had come to them a man of authority, one Gaal, that 
sojourned with them, having his armed men and his kinsmen with him; so the 
Shechemites desired that he would allow them a guard during their vintage; 
whereupon he accepted of their desires, and so the people went out, and Gaal 
with them at the head of his soldiery. So they gathered their fruit with safety; 
and when they were at supper in several companies, they then ventured to curse 
Abimelech openly; and the magistrates laid ambushes in places about the city, 
and caught many of Abimelech's followers, and destroyed them. 

4. Now there was one Zebul, a magistrate of the Shechemites, that had 
entertained Abimelech. He sent messengers, and informed him how much Gaal 
had irritated the people against him, and excited him to lay ambushes before the 
city, for that he would persuade Gaal to go out against him, which would leave 
it in his power to be revenged on him; and when that was once done, he would 
bring him to be reconciled to the city. So Abimelech laid ambushes, and 
himself lay with them. Now Gaal abode in the suburbs, taking little care of 
himself; and Zebul was with him. Now as Gaal saw the armed men coming on, 
he said to Zebul, That some armed men were coming; but the other replied, 
They were only shadows of huge stones: and when they were come nearer, 
Gaal perceived what was the reality, and said, they were not shadows, but men 
lying in ambush. Then said Zebul, "Didst not thou reproach Abimelech for 
cowardice? why dost thou not then show how very courageous thou art thyself, 
and go and fight him?" So Gaal, being in disorder, joined battle with 
Abimelech, and some of his men fell; whereupon he fled into the city, and took 
his men with him. But Zebul managed his matters so in the city, that he 
procured them to expel Gaal out of the city, and this by accusing him of 
cowardice in this action with the soldiers of Abimelech. But Abimelech, when 
he had learned that the Shechemites were again coming out to gather their 
grapes, placed ambushes before the city, and when they were coming out, the 
third part of his army took possession of the gates, to hinder the citizens from 
returning in again, while the rest pursued those that were scattered abroad, and 
so there was slaughter every where; and when he had overthrown the city to the 



very foundations, for it was not able to bear a siege, and had sown its ruins with 
salt, he proceeded on with his army till all the Shechemites were slain. As for 
those that were scattered about the country, and so escaped the danger, they 
were gathered together unto a certain strong rock, and settled themselves upon 
it, and prepared to build a wall about it: and when Abimelech knew their 
intentions, he prevented them, and came upon them with his forces, and laid 
faggots of dry wood round the place, he himself bringing some of them, and by 
his example encouraging the soldiers to do the same. And when the rock was 
encompassed round about with these faggots, they set them on fire, and threw 
in whatsoever by nature caught fire the most easily: so a mighty flame was 
raised, and nobody could fly away from the rock, but every man perished, with 
their wives and children, in all about fifteen hundred men, and the rest were a 
great number also. And such was the calamity which fell upon the Shechemites; 
and men's grief on their account had been greater than it was, had they not 
brought so much mischief on a person who had so well deserved of them, and 
had they not themselves esteemed this as a punishment for the same. 

5. Now Abimelech, when he had affrighted the Israelites with the miseries 
he had brought upon the Shechemites, seemed openly to affect greater authority 
than he now had, and appeared to set no bounds to his violence, unless it were 
with the destruction of all. Accordingly he marched to Thebes, and took the city 
on the sudden; and there being a great tower therein, whereunto the whole 
multitude fled, he made preparation to besiege it. Now as he was rushing with 
violence near the gates, a woman threw a piece of a millstone upon his head, 
upon which Abimelech fell down, and desired his armor-bearer to kill him lest 
his death should be thought to be the work of a woman: — who did what he was 
bid to do. So he underwent this death as a punishment for the wickedness he 
had perpetrated against his brethren, and his insolent barbarity to the 
Shechemites. Now the calamity that happened to those Shechemites was 
according to the prediction of Jotham, However, the army that was with 
Abimelech, upon his fall, was scattered abroad, and went to their own homes. 

6. Now it was that Jair the Gileadite, 16 of the tribe of Manasseh, took the 
government. He was a man happy in other respects also, but particularly in his 
children, who were of a good character. They were thirty in number, and very 
skilful in riding on horses, and were intrusted with the government of the cities 
of Gilead. He kept the government twenty-two years, and died an old man; and 
he was buried in Camon, a city of Gilead. 

7. And now all the affairs of the Hebrews were managed uncertainly, and 
tended to disorder, and to the contempt of God and of the laws. So the 
Ammonites and Philistines had them in contempt, and laid waste the country 
with a great army; and when they had taken all Perea, they were so insolent as 
to attempt to gain the possession of all the rest. But the Hebrews, being now 



amended by the calamities they had undergone, betook themselves to 
supplications to God; and brought sacrifices to him, beseeching him not to be 
too severe upon them, but to be moved by their prayers to leave off his anger 
against them. So God became more merciful to them, and was ready to assist 
them. 

8. When the Ammonites had made an expedition into the land of Gilead, the 
inhabitants of the country met them at a certain mountain, but wanted a 
commander. Now there was one whose name was Jephtha, who, both on 
account of his father's virtue, and on account of that army which he maintained 
at his own expenses, was a potent man: the Israelites therefore sent to him, and 
entreated him to come to their assistance, and promised him the dominion over 
them all his lifetime. But he did not admit of their entreaty; and accused them, 
that they did not come to his assistance when he was unjustly treated, and this 
in an open manner by his brethren; for they cast him off, as not having the same 
mother with the rest, but born of a strange mother, that was introduced among 
them by his father's fondness; and this they did out of a contempt of his 
inability [to vindicate himself]. So he dwelt in the country of Gilead, as it is 
called, and received all that came to him, let them come from what place 
soever, and paid them wages. However, when they pressed him to accept the 
dominion, and sware they would grant him the government over them all his 
life, he led them to the war. 

9. And when Jephtha had taken immediate care of their affairs, he placed 
his army at the city Mizpeh, and sent a message to the Ammonite [king], 
complaining of his unjust possession of their land. But that king sent a contrary 
message; and complained of the exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt, and 
desired him to go out of the land of the Amorites, and yield it up to him, as at 
first his paternal inheritance. But Jephtha returned this answer: That he did not 
justly complain of his ancestors about the land of the Amorites, and ought 
rather to thank them that they left the land of the Ammonites to them, since 
Moses could have taken it also; and that neither would he recede from that land 
of their own, which God had obtained for them, and they had now inhabited 
[above] three hundred years, but would fight with them about it. 

10. And when he had given them this answer, he sent the ambassadors 
away. And when he had prayed for victory, and had vowed to perform sacred 
offices, and if he came home in safety, to offer in sacrifice what living creature 
soever should first meet him; 17 he joined battle with the enemy, and gained a 
great victory, and in his pursuit slew the enemies all along as far as the city of 
Minnith. He then passed over to the land of the Ammonites, and overthrew 
many of their cities, and took their prey, and freed his own people from that 
slavery which they had undergone for eighteen years. But as he came back, he 
fell into a calamity no way correspondent to the great actions he had done; for 



it was his daughter that came to meet him; she was also an only child and a 
virgin: upon this Jephtha heavily lamented the greatness of his affliction, and 
blamed his daughter for being so forward in meeting him, for he had vowed to 
sacrifice her to God. However, this action that was to befall her was not 
ungrateful to her, since she should die upon occasion of her father's victory, and 
the liberty of her fellow citizens: she only desired her father to give her leave, 
for two months, to bewail her youth with her fellow citizens; and then she 
agreed, that at the forementioned thee he might do with her according to his 
vow. Accordingly, when that time was over, he sacrificed his daughter as a 
burnt-offering, offering such an oblation as was neither conformable to the law 
nor acceptable to God, not weighing with himself what opinion the hearers 
would have of such a practice. 

11. Now the tribe of Ephraim fought against him, because he did not take 
them along with him in his expedition against the Ammonites, but because he 
alone had the prey, and the glory of what was done to himself. As to which he 
said, first, that they were not ignorant how his kindred had fought against him, 
and that when they were invited, they did not come to his assistance, whereas 
they ought to have come quickly, even before they were invited. And in the 
next place, that they were going to act unjustly; for while they had not courage 
enough to fight their enemies, they came hastily against their own kindred: and 
he threatened them that, with God's assistance, he would inflict a punishment 
upon them, unless they would grow wiser. But when he could not persuade 
them, he fought with them with those forces which he sent for out of Gilead, 
and he made a great slaughter among them; and when they were beaten, he 
pursued them, and seized on the passages of Jordan by a part of his army which 
he had sent before, and slew about forty-two thousand of them. 

12. So when Jephtha had ruled six years, he died, and was buried in his own 
country, Sebee, which is a place in the land of Gilead. 

13. Now when Jephtha was dead, Ibzan took the government, being of the 
tribe of Judah, and of the city of Bethlehem. He had sixty children, thirty of 
them sons, and the rest daughters; all whom he left alive behind him, giving the 
daughters in marriage to husbands, and taking wives for his sons. He did 
nothing in the seven years of his administration that was worth recording, or 
deserved a memorial. So he died an old man, and was buried in his own 
country. 

14. When Ibzan was dead after this manner, neither did Helon, who 
succeeded him in the government, and kept it ten years, do any thing 
remarkable: he was of the tribe of Zebulon. 

15. Abdon also, the son of Hilel, of the tribe of Ephraim, and born at the 
city Pyrathon, was ordained their supreme governor after Helon. He is only 
recorded to have been happy in his children; for the public affairs were then so 



peaceable, and in such security, that neither did he perform any glorious action. 
He had forty sons, and by them left thirty grandchildren; and he marched in 
state with these seventy, who were all very skilful in riding horses; and he left 
them all alive after him. He died an old man, and obtained a magnificent burial 
in Pyrathon. 

CHAPTER 8 

CONCERNING THE FORTITUDE OF SAMSON, AND WHAT MISCHIEFS 
HE BROUGHT UPON THE PHILISTINES 



1. After Abdon was dead, the Philistines overcame the Israelites, and received 
tribute of them for forty years; from which distress they were delivered after 
this manner: — 

2. There was one Manoah, a person of such great virtue, that he had few 
men his equals, and without dispute the principal person of his country. He had 
a wife celebrated for her beauty, and excelling her contemporaries. He had no 
children; and, being uneasy at his want of posterity, he entreated God to give 
them seed of their own bodies to succeed them; and with that intent he came 
constantly into the suburbs, 18 together with his wife; which suburbs were in the 
Great Plain. Now he was fond of his wife to a degree of madness, and on that 
account was unmeasurably jealous of her. Now, when his wife was once alone, 
an apparition was seen by her: it was an angel of God, and resembled a young 
man beautiful and tall, and brought her the good news that she should have a 
son, born by God's providence, that should be a goodly child, of great strength; 
by whom, when he was grown up to man's estate, the Philistines should be 
afflicted. He exhorted her also not to poll his hair, and that he should avoid all 
other kinds of drink, (for so had God commanded,) and be entirely contented 
with water. So the angel, when he had delivered that message, went his way, his 
coming having been by the will of God. 

3. Now the wife informed her husband when he came home of what the 
angel had said, who showed so great an admiration of the beauty and tallness of 
the young man that had appeared to her, that her husband was astonished, and 
out of himself for jealousy, and such suspicions as are excited by that passion: 
but she was desirous of having her husband's unreasonable sorrow taken away; 
accordingly she entreated God to send the angel again, that he might be seen by 
her husband. So the angel came again by the favor of God, while they were in 
the suburbs, and appeared to her when she was alone without her husband. She 
desired the angel to stay so long till she might bring her husband; and that 
request being granted, she goes to call Manoah. When he saw the angel he was 



not yet free from suspicion, and he desired him to inform him of all that he had 
told his wife; but when he said it was sufficient that she alone knew what he 
had said, he then requested of him to tell who he was, that when the child was 
born they might return him thanks, and give him a present. He replied that he 
did not want any present, for that he did not bring them the good news of the 
birth of a son out of the want of any thing. And when Manoah had entreated 
him to stay, and partake of his hospitality, he did not give his consent. However 
he was persuaded, at the earnest request of Manoah to stay so long as while he 
brought him one mark of his hospitality; so he slew a kid of the goats, and bid 
his wife boil it. When all was ready, the angel enjoined him to set the loaves 
and the flesh, but without the vessels, upon the rock; which when they had 
done, he touched the flesh with the rod which he had in his hand, which, upon 
the breaking out of a flame, was consumed, together with the loaves; and the 
angel ascended openly, in their sight, up to heaven, by means of the smoke, as 
by a vehicle. Now Manoah was afraid that some danger would come to them 
from this sight of God; but his wife bade him be of good courage, for that God 
appeared to them for their benefit. 

4. So the woman proved with child, and was careful to observe the 
injunctions that were given her; and they called the child, when he was born, 
Samson, which name signifies one that is strong. So the child grew apace; and 
it appeared evidently that he would be a prophet, 19 both by the moderation of 
his diet, and the permission of his hair to grow. 

5. Now when he once came with his parents to Timnath, a city of the 
Philistines, when there was a great festival, he fell in love with a maid of that 
country, and he desired of his parents that they would procure him the damsel 
for his wife: but they refused so to do, because she was not of the stock of 
Israel; yet because this marriage was of God, who intended to convert it to the 
benefit of the Hebrews, he over-persuaded them to procure her to be espoused 
to him. And as he was continually coming to her parents, he met a lion, and 
though he was naked, he received his onset, and strangled him with his hands, 
and cast the wild beast into a woody piece of ground on the inside of the road. 

6. And when he was going another time to the damsel, he lit upon a swarm 
of bees making their combs in the breast of that lion; and taking three honey- 
combs away, he gave them, together with the rest of his presents, to the damsel. 
Now the people of Timnath, out of a dread of the young man's strength, gave 
him during the time of the wedding-feast (for he then feasted them all) thirty of 
the most stout of their youth, in pretence to be his companions, but in reality to 
be a guard upon him, that he might not attempt to give them any disturbance. 
Now as they were drinking merrily and playing, Samson said, as was usual at 
such times, Come, if I propose you a riddle, and you can expound it in these 
seven days' time, I will give you every one a linen shirt and a garment, as the 



reward of your wisdom." So they being very ambitious to obtain the glory of 
wisdom, together with the gains, desired him to propose his riddle. He said, 
"That a devourer produced sweet food out of itself, though itself were very 
disagreeable." And when they were not able, in three days' time, to find out the 
meaning of the riddle, they desired the damsel to discover it by the means of 
her husband, and tell it them; and they threatened to burn her if she did not tell 
it them. So when the damsel entreated Samson to tell it her, he at first refused 
to do it; but when she lay hard at him, and fell into tears, and made his refusal 
to tell it a sign of his unkindness to her, he informed her of his slaughter of a 
lion, and how he found bees in his breast, and carried away three honey-combs, 
and brought them to her. Thus he, suspecting nothing of deceit, informed her of 
all, and she revealed it to those that desired to know it. Then on the seventh day, 
whereon they were to expound the riddle proposed to them, they met together 
before sun-setting, and said, "Nothing is more disagreeable than a lion to those 
that light on it, and nothing is sweeter than honey to those that make use of it." 
To which Samson made this rejoinder: "Nothing is more deceitful than a 
woman for such was the person that discovered my interpretation to you." 
Accordingly he gave them the presents he had promised them, making such 
Askelonites as met him upon the road his prey, who were themselves 
Philistines also. But he divorced this his wife; and the girl despised his anger, 
and was married to his companion, who made the former match between them. 

7. At this injurious treatment Samson was so provoked, that he resolved to 
punish all the Philistines, as well as her: so it being then summer-time, and the 
fruits of the land being almost ripe enough for reaping, he caught three hundred 
foxes, and joining lighted torches to their tails, he sent them into the fields of 
the Philistines, by which means the fruits of the fields perished. Now when the 
Philistines knew that this was Samson's doing, and knew also for what cause he 
did it, they sent their rulers to Timnath, and burnt his former wife, and her 
relations, who had been the occasion of their misfortunes. 

8. Now when Samson had slain many of the Philistines in the plain country, 
he dwelt at Etam, which is a strong rock of the tribe of Judah; for the Philistines 
at that time made an expedition against that tribe: but the people of Judah said 
that they did not act justly with them, in inflicting punishments upon them 
while they paid their tribute, and this only on account of Samson's offenses. 
They answered, that in case they would not be blamed themselves, they must 
deliver up Samson, and put him into their power. So they being desirous not to 
be blamed themselves, came to the rock with three thousand armed men, and 
complained to Samson of the bold insults he had made upon the Philistines, 
who were men able to bring calamity upon the whole nation of the Hebrews; 
and they told him they were come to take him, and to deliver him up to them, 
and put him into their power; so they desired him to bear this willingly. 



Accordingly, when he had received assurance from them upon oath, that they 
would do him no other harm than only to deliver him into his enemies' hands, 
he came down from the rock, and put himself into the power of his countrymen. 
Then did they bind him with two cords, and lead him on, in order to deliver him 
to the Philistines; and when they came to a certain place, which is now called 
the Jaw-bone, on account of the great action there performed by Samson, 
though of old it had no particular name at all, the Philistines, who had pitched 
their camp not far off, came to meet them with joy and shouting, as having 
done a great thing, and gained what they desired; but Samson broke his bonds 
asunder, and catching up the jaw-bone of an ass that lay down at his feet, fell 
upon his enemies, and smiting them with his jaw-bone, slew a thousand of 
them, and put the rest to flight and into great disorder. 

9. Upon this slaughter Samson was too proud of what he had performed, 
and said that this did not come to pass by the assistance of God, but that his 
success was to be ascribed to his own courage; and vaunted himself, that it was 
out of a dread of him that some of his enemies fell and the rest ran away upon 
his use of the jaw-bone; but when a great thirst came upon him, he considered 
that human courage is nothing, and bare his testimony that all is to be ascribed 
to God, and besought him that he would not be angry at any thing he had said, 
nor give him up into the hands of his enemies, but afford him help under his 
affliction, and deliver him from the misfortune he was under. Accordingly God 
was moved with his entreaties, and raised him up a plentiful fountain of sweet 
water at a certain rock whence it was that Samson called the place the 
Jawbone, 20 and so it is called to this day. 

10. After this fight Samson held the Philistines in contempt, and came to 
Gaza, and took up his lodgings in a certain inn. When the rulers of Gaza were 
informed of his coming thither, they seized upon the gates, and placed men in 
ambush about them, that he might not escape without being perceived; but 
Samson, who was acquainted with their contrivances against him, arose about 
midnight, and ran by force upon the gates, with their posts and beams, and the 
rest of their wooden furniture, and carried them away on his shoulders, and 
bare them to the mountain that is over Hebron, and there laid them down. 

11. However, he at length 21 transgressed the laws of his country, and altered 
his own regular way of living, and imitated the strange customs of foreigners, 
which thing was the beginning of his miseries; for he fell in love with a woman 
that was a harlot among the Philistines: her name was Delilah, and he lived 
with her. So those that administered the public affairs of the Philistines came to 
her, and, with promises, induced her to get out of Samson what was the cause 
of that his strength, by which he became unconquerable to his enemies. 
Accordingly, when they were drinking, and had the like conversation together, 
she pretended to admire the actions he had done, and contrived to get out of 



him by subtlety, by what means he so much excelled others in strength. 
Samson, in order to delude Delilah, for he had not yet lost his senses, replied, 
that if he were bound with seven such green withs of a vine as might still be 
wreathed, he should be weaker than any other man. The woman said no more 
then, but told this to the rulers of the Philistines, and hid certain of the soldiers 
in ambush within the house; and when he was disordered in drink and asleep, 
she bound him as fast as possible with the withs; and then upon her awakening 
him, she told him some of the people were upon him; but he broke the withs, 
and endeavored to defend himself, as though some of the people were upon 
him. Now this woman, in the constant conversation Samson had with her, 
pretended that she took it very ill that he had such little confidence in her 
affections to him, that he would not tell her what she desired, as if she would 
not conceal what she knew it was for his interest to have concealed. However, 
he deluded her again, and told her, that if they bound him with seven cords, he 
should lose his strength. And when, upon doing this, she gained nothing, he 
told her the third time, that his hair should be woven into a web; but when, 
upon doing this, the truth was not yet discovered, at length Samson, upon 
Delilah's prayer, (for he was doomed to fall into some affliction,) was desirous 
to please her, and told her that God took care of him, and that he was born by 
his providence, and that "thence it is that I suffer my hair to grow, God having 
charged me never to poll my head, and thence my strength is according to the 
increase and continuance of my hair." When she had learned thus much, and 
had deprived him of his hair, she delivered him up to his enemies, when he was 
not strong enough to defend himself from their attempts upon him; so they put 
out his eyes, and bound him, and had him led about among them. 

12. But in process of time Samson's hair grew again. And there was a public 
festival among the Philistines, when the rulers, and those of the most eminent 
character, were feasting together; (now the room wherein they were had its roof 
supported by two pillars;) so they sent for Samson, and he was brought to their 
feast, that they might insult him in their cups. Hereupon he, thinking it one of 
the greatest misfortunes, if he should not be able to revenge himself when he 
was thus insulted, persuaded the boy that led him by the hand, that he was 
weary and wanted to rest himself, and desired he would bring him near the 
pillars; and as soon as he came to them, he rushed with force against them, and 
overthrew the house, by overthrowing its pillars, with three thousand men in it, 
who were all slain, and Samson with them. And such was the end of this man, 
when he had ruled over the Israelites twenty years. And indeed this man 
deserves to be admired for his courage and strength, and magnanimity at his 
death, and that his wrath against his enemies went so far as to die himself with 
them. But as for his being ensnared by a woman, that is to be ascribed to human 
nature, which is too weak to resist the temptations to that sin; but we ought to 



bear him witness, that in all other respects he was one of extraordinary virtue. 
But his kindred took away his body, and buried it in Sarasat his own country, 
with the rest of his family. 

CHAPTER 9 

HOW UNDER ELI'S GOVERNMENT OF THE ISRAELITES BOOZ 
MARRIED RUTH, FROM WHOM CAME OBED THE GRANDFATHER OF 
DAVID 



1. Now after the death of Samson, Eli the high priest was governor of the 
Israelites. Under him, when the country was afflicted with a famine, Elimelech 
of Bethlehem, which is a city of the tribe of Judah, being not able to support his 
family under so sore a distress, took with him Naomi his wife, and the children 
that were born to him by her, Chilion and Mahlon, and removed his habitation 
into the land of Moab; and upon the happy prosperity of his affairs there, he 
took for his sons wives of the Moabites, Orpah for Chilion, and Ruth for 
Mahlon. But in the compass of ten years, both Elimelech, and a little while 
after him, the sons, died; and Naomi being very uneasy at these accidents, and 
not being able to bear her lonesome condition, now those that were dearest to 
her were dead, on whose account it was that she had gone away from her own 
country, she returned to it again, for she had been informed it was now in a 
flourishing condition. However, her daughters-in-law were not able to think of 
parting with her; and when they had a mind to go out of the country with her, 
she could not dissuade them from it; but when they insisted upon it, she wished 
them a more happy wedlock than they had with her sons, and that they might 
have prosperity in other respects also; and seeing her own affairs were so low, 
she exhorted them to stay where they were, and not to think of leaving their 
own country, and partaking with her of that uncertainty under which she must 
return. Accordingly Orpah staid behind; but she took Ruth along with her, as 
not to be persuaded to stay behind her, but would take her fortune with her, 
whatsoever it should prove. 

2. When Ruth was come with her mother-in-law to Bethlehem, Booz, who 
was near of kin to Elimelech, entertained her; and when Naomi was so called 
by her fellow citizens, according to her true name, she said, "You might more 
truly call me Mara." Now Naomi signifies in the Hebrew tongue happiness, and 
Mara, sorrow. It was now reaping time; and Ruth, by the leave of her mother- 
in-law, went out to glean, that they might get a stock of corn for their food. 
Now it happened that she came into Booz's field; and after some time Booz 
came thither, and when he saw the damsel, he inquired of his servant that was 



set over the reapers concerning the girl. The servant had a little before inquired 
about all her circumstances, and told them to his master, who kindly embraced 
her, both on account of her affection to her mother-in-law, and her 
remembrance of that son of hers to whom she had been married, and wished 
that she might experience a prosperous condition; so he desired her not to 
glean, but to reap what she was able, and gave her leave to carry it home. He 
also gave it in charge to that servant who was over the reapers, not to hinder her 
when she took it away, and bade him give her her dinner, and make her drink 
when he did the like to the reapers. Now what corn Ruth received of him she 
kept for her mother-in-law, and came to her in the evening, and brought the ears 
of corn with her; and Naomi had kept for her a part of such food as her 
neighbors had plentifully bestowed upon her. Ruth also told her mother-in-law 
what Booz had said to her; and when the other had informed her that he was 
near of kin to them, and perhaps was so pious a man as to make some provision 
for them, she went out again on the days following, to gather the gleanings with 
Booz's maidservants. 

3. It was not many days before Booz, after the barley was winnowed, slept 
in his thrashing-floor. When Naomi was informed of this circumstance she 
contrived it so that Ruth should lie down by him, for she thought it might be for 
their advantage that he should discourse with the girl. Accordingly she sent the 
damsel to sleep at his feet; who went as she bade her, for she did not think it 
consistent with her duty to contradict any command of her mother-in-law. And 
at first she lay concealed from Booz, as he was fast asleep; but when he awaked 
about midnight, and perceived a woman lying by him, he asked who she was; 
— and when she told him her name, and desired that he whom she owned for 
her lord would excuse her, he then said no more; but in the morning, before the 
servants began to set about their work, he awaked her, and bid her take as much 
barley as she was able to carry, and go to her mother-in-law before any body 
there should see that she had lain down by him, because it was but prudent to 
avoid any reproach that might arise on that account, especially when there had 
been nothing done that was ill. But as to the main point she aimed at, the matter 
should rest here, — "He that is nearer of kin than I am, shall be asked whether he 
wants to take thee to wife: if he says he does, thou shalt follow him; but if he 
refuse it, I will marry thee, according to the law." 

4. When she had informed her mother-in-law of this, they were very glad of 
it, out of the hope they had that Booz would make provision for them. Now 
about noon Booz went down into the city, and gathered the senate together, and 
when he had sent for Ruth, he called for her kinsman also; and when he was 
come, he said, "Dost not thou retain the inheritance of Elimelech and his sons?" 
He confessed that he did retain it, and that he did as he was permitted to do by 
the laws, because he was their nearest kinsman. Then said Booz, "Thou must 



not remember the laws by halves, but do every thing according to them; for the 
wife of Mahlon is come hither, whom thou must marry, according to the law, in 
case thou wilt retain their fields." So the man yielded up both the field and the 
wife to Booz, who was himself of kin to those that were dead, as alleging that 
he had a wife already, and children also; so Booz called the senate to witness, 
and bid the woman to loose his shoe, and spit in his face, according to the law; 
and when this was done, Booz married Ruth, and they had a son within a year's 
time. Naomi was herself a nurse to this child; and by the advice of the women, 
called him Obed, as being to be brought up in order to be subservient to her in 
her old age, for Obed in the Hebrew dialect signifies a servant. The son of Obed 
was Jesse, and David was his son, who was king, and left his dominions to his 
sons for one and twenty generations. I was therefore obliged to relate this 
history of Ruth, because I had a mind to demonstrate the power of God, who, 
without difficulty, can raise those that are of ordinary parentage to dignity and 
splendor, to which he advanced David, though he were born of such mean 
parents. 

CHAPTER 10 

CONCERNING THE BIRTH OF SAMUEL; AND HOW HE FORETOLD 
THE CALAMITY THAT BEFELL THE SONS OF ELI 



1. And now upon the ill state of the affairs of the Hebrews, they made war 
again upon the Philistines. The occasion was this: Eli, the high priest, had two 
sons, Hophni and Phineas. These sons of Eli were guilty of injustice towards 
men, and of impiety towards God, and abstained from no sort of wickedness. 
Some of their gifts they carried off, as belonging to the honorable employment 
they had; others of them they took away by violence. They also were guilty of 
impurity with the women that came to worship God at the tabernacle, obliging 
some to submit to their lust by force, and enticing others by bribes; nay, the 
whole course of their lives was no better than tyranny. Their father therefore 
was angry at them for such their wickedness, and expected that God would 
suddenly inflict his punishments upon them for what they had done. The 
multitude took it heinously also. And as soon as God had foretold what 
calamity would befall Eli's sons, which he did both to Eli himself and to 
Samuel the prophet, who was yet but a child, he openly showed his sorrow for 
his sons' destruction. 

2. I will first despatch what I have to say about the prophet Samuel, and 
after that will proceed to speak of the sons of Eli, and the miseries they brought 
on the whole people of the Hebrews. Elcanah, a Levite, one of a middle 



condition among his fellow citizens, and one that dwelt at Ramathaim, a city of 
the tribe of Ephraim, married two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. He had 
children by the latter; but he loved the other best, although she was barren. 
Now Elcanah came with his wives to the city Shiloh to sacrifice, for there it 
was that the tabernacle of God was fixed, as we have formerly said. Now when, 
after he had sacrificed, he distributed at that festival portions of the flesh to his 
wives and children, and when Hannah saw the other wife's children sitting 
round about their mother, she fell into tears, and lamented herself on account of 
her barrenness and lonesomeness; and suffering her grief to prevail over her 
husband's consolations to her, she went to the tabernacle to beseech God to give 
her seed, and to make her a mother; and to vow to consecrate the first son she 
should bear to the service of God, and this in such a way, that his manner of 
living should not be like that of ordinary men. And as she continued at her 
prayers a long time, Eli, the high priest, for he sat there before the tabernacle, 
bid her go away, thinking she had been disordered with wine; but when she said 
she had drank water, but was in sorrow for want of children, and was 
beseeching God for them, he bid her be of good cheer, and told her that God 
would send her children. 

3. So she came to her husband full of hope, and ate her meal with gladness. 
And when they had returned to their own country she found herself with child, 
and they had a son born to them, to whom they gave the name of Samuel, 
which may be styled one that was asked of God. They therefore came to the 
tabernacle to offer sacrifice for the birth of the child, and brought their tithes 
with them; but the woman remembered the vows she had made concerning her 
son, and delivered him to Eli, dedicating him to God, that he might become a 
prophet. Accordingly his hair was suffered to grow long, and his drink was 
water. So Samuel dwelt and was brought up in the temple. But Elcanah had 
other sons by Hannah, and three daughters. 

4. Now when Samuel was twelve years old, he began to prophesy: and once 
when he was asleep, God called to him by his name; and he, supposing he had 
been called by the high priest, came to him: but when the high priest said he did 
not call him, God did so thrice. Eli was then so far illuminated, that he said to 
him, "Indeed, Samuel, I was silent now as well as before: it is God that calls 
thee; do thou therefore signify it to him, and say, I am here ready." So when he 
heard God speak again, he desired him to speak, and to deliver what oracles he 
pleased to him, for he would not fail to perform any ministration whatsoever he 
should make use of him in; — to which God replied, "Since thou art here ready, 
learn what miseries are coming upon the Israelites, — such indeed as words 
cannot declare, nor faith believe; for the sons of Eli shall die on one day, and 
the priesthood shall be transferred into the family of Eleazar; for Eli hath loved 
his sons more than he hath loved my worship, and to such a degree as is not for 



their advantage." Which message Eli obliged the prophet by oath to tell him, 
for otherwise he had no inclination to afflict him by telling it. And now Eli had 
a far more sure expectation of the perdition of his sons; but the glory of Samuel 
increased more and more, it being found by experience that whatsoever he 
prophesied came to pass accordingly. 22 

CHAPTER 11 

HEREIN IS DECLARED WHAT BEFELL THE SONS OF ELI, THE ARK, 
AND THE PEOPLE AND HOW ELI HIMSELF DIED MISERABLY 



1. About this time it was that the Philistines made war against the Israelites, 
and pitched their camp at the city Aphek. Now when the Israelites had expected 
them a little while, the very next day they joined battle, and the Philistines were 
conquerors, and slew above four thousand of the Hebrews, and pursued the rest 
of their multitude to their camp. 

2. So the Hebrews being afraid of the worst, sent to the senate, and to the 
high priest, and desired that they would bring the ark of God, that by putting 
themselves in array, when it was present with them, they might be too hard for 
their enemies, as not reflecting that he who had condemned them to endure 
these calamities was greater than the ark, and for whose sake it was that this ark 
came to be honored. So the ark came, and the sons of the high priest with it, 
having received a charge from their father, that if they pretended to survive the 
taking of the ark, they should come no more into his presence, for Phineas 
officiated already as high priest, his father having resigned his office to him, by 
reason of his great age. So the Hebrews were full of courage, as supposing that, 
by the coming of the ark, they should be too hard for their enemies: their 
enemies also were greatly concerned, and were afraid of the ark's coming to the 
Israelites: however, the upshot did not prove agreeable to the expectation of 
both sides, but when the battle was joined, that victory which the Hebrews 
expected was gained by the Philistines, and that defeat the Philistines were 
afraid of fell to the lot of the Israelites, and thereby they found that they had put 
their trust in the ark in vain, for they were presently beaten as soon as they 
came to a close fight with their enemies, and lost about thirty thousand men, 
among whom were the sons of the high priest; but the ark was carried away by 
the enemies. 

3. When the news of this defeat came to Shiloh, with that of the captivity of 
the ark, (for a certain young man, a Benjamite, who was in the action, came as 
a messenger thither,) the whole city was full of lamentations. And Eli, the high 
priest, who sat upon a high throne at one of the gates, heard their mournful 



cries, and supposed that some strange thing had befallen his family. So he sent 
for the young man; and when he understood what had happened in the battle, 
he was not much uneasy as to his sons, or what was told him withal about the 
army, as having beforehand known by Divine revelation that those things 
would happen, and having himself declared them beforehand, — for what sad 
things come unexpectedly they distress men the most; but as soon as [he heard] 
the ark was carried captive by their enemies, he was very much grieved at it, 
because it fell out quite differently from what he expected; so he fell down 
from his throne and died, having in all lived ninety-eight years, and of them 
retained the government forty. 

4. On the same day his son Phineas's wife died also, as not able to survive 
the misfortune of her husband; for they told her of her husband's death as she 
was in labor. However, she bare a son at seven months, who lived, and to whom 
they gave the name of Icabod, which name signifies disgrace, — and this 
because the army received a disgrace at this thee. 

5. Now Eli was the first of the family of Ithamar, the other son of Aaron, 
that had the government; for the family of Eleazar officiated as high priest at 
first, the son still receiving that honor from the father which Eleazar 
bequeathed to his son Phineas; after whom Abiezer his son took the honor, and 
delivered it to his son, whose name was Bukki, from whom his son Ozi 
received it; after whom Eli, of whom we have been speaking, had the 
priesthood, and so he and his posterity until the time of Solomon's reign; but 
then the posterity of Eleazar reassumed it. 



1 The Amorites were one of the seven nations of Canaan. Hence Reland is willing to suppose that 
Josephus did not here mean that their land beyond Jordan was a seventh part of the whole land of Canaan, 
but meant the Amorites as a seventh nation. His reason is, that Josephus, as well as our Bible, generally 
distinguish the land beyond Jordan from the land of Canaan; nor can it be denied, that in strictness they 
were different: yet after two tribes and a half of the twelve tribes came to inherit it, it might in a general 
way altogether be well included under the land of Canaan, or Palestine, or Judea, of which we have a clear 
example here before us in Josephus, whose words evidently imply, that taking the whole land of Canaan, or 
that inhabited by all the twelve tribes together, and parting it into seven parts, the part beyond Jordan was in 
quantity of ground one seventh part of the whole. And this well enough agrees to Reland's own map of that 
country, although this land beyond Jordan was so peculiarly fruitful, and good for pasturage, as the two 
tribes and a half took notice, Numbers 32: 1, 4, 16, that it maintained about a fifth part of the whole people. 

2 It plainly appears by the history of these spies, and the innkeeper Rahab's deception of the king of 
Jericho's messengers, by telling them what was false in order to save the lives of the spies, and yet the great 
commendation of her faith and good works in the New Testament, Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25, as well as 
by many other parallel examples, both in the Old Testament and in Josephus, that the best men did not then 
scruple to deceive those public enemies who might justly be destroyed; as also might deceive ill men in 
order to save life, and deliver themselves from the tyranny of their unjust oppressors, and this by telling 
direct falsehoods; I mean, all this where no oath was demanded of them, otherwise they never durst venture 
on such a procedure. Nor was Josephus himself of any other opinion or practice, as I shall remark in the 
note on Antiq. B. IX. ch. 4. sect. 3. And observe, that I still call this woman Rahab, an innkeeper, not a 
harlot, the whole history, both in our copies, and especially in Josephus, implying no more. It was indeed so 



frequent a thing, that women who were innkeepers were also harlots, or maintainers of harlots, that the 
word commonly used for real harlots was usually given them. See Dr. Bernard's note here, and Judges 11:1, 
and Antiq. B. V. ch. 7. sect. 8. 

3 Upon occasion of this devoting of Jericho to destruction, and the exemplary punishment of Achar, who 
broke that cherem or anathema, and of the punishment of the future breaker of it, Hiel, 1 Kings 16:34, as 
also of the punishment of Saul, for breaking the like cherem or anathema, against the Amalekites, 1 Samuel 
15, we may observe what was the true meaning of that law, Leviticus 27:28: "None devoted which shall be 
devoted of shall be redeemed; but shall be put to death;" i.e. whenever any of the Jews' public enemies had 
been, for their wickedness, solemnly devoted to destruction, according to the Divine command, as were 
generally the seven wicked nations of Canaan, and those sinners the Amalekites, 1 Samuel 15:18, it was 
utterly unlawful to permit those enemies to be redeemed; but they were to be all utterly destroyed. See also 
Numbers 23:2, 3. 

4 That the name of this chief was not Achan, as in the common copies, but Achar, as here in Josephus, 
and in the Apostolical Constit. B. VII. ch. 2, and elsewhere, is evident by the allusion to that name in the 
curse of Joshua, "Why hast thou troubled us? — the Lord shall trouble thee"; where the Hebrew word 
alludes only to the name Achar, but not to Achan. Accordingly, this Valley of Achar, or Achor, was and is a 
known place, a little north of Gilgal, so called from the days of Joshua till this day. See Joshua 7:26; Isaiah 
65:10; Hosea 2:15; and Dr. Bernard's notes here. 

5 Here Dr. Bernard very justly observes, that a few words are dropped out of Josephus's copies, on 
account of the repetition of the word shekels, and that it ought to be read thus: — "A piece of gold that 
weighed fifty shekels, and one of silver that weighed two hundred shekels," as in our other copies, Joshua 
7:21. 

6 1 agree here with Dr. Bernard, and approve of Josephus's interpretation of Gilgal for liberty. See Joshua 
5:9. 

7 Whether this lengthening of the day, by the standing still of the sun and moon, were physical and real, 
by the miraculous stoppage of the diurnal motion of the earth for about half a revolution, or whether only 
apparent, by aerial phosphori imitating the sun and moon as stationary so long, while clouds and the night 
hid the real ones, and this parhelion or mock sun affording sufficient light for Joshua's pursuit and complete 
victory, (which aerial phosphori in other shapes have been more than ordinarily common of late years,) 
cannot now be determined: philosophers and astronomers will naturally incline to this latter hypothesis. In 
the mean time, the fact itself was mentioned in the book of Jasher, now lost, Joshua 10:13, and is confirmed 
by Isaiah, 28:21, Habakkuk, 3:11, and by the son of Sirach, Ecclus. 46:4. In the 18th Psalm of Solomon, 
yet, it is also said of the luminaries, with relation, no doubt, to this and the other miraculous standing still 
and going back, in the days of Joshua and Hezekiah, "They have not wandered, from the day that he created 
them; they have not forsaken their way, from ancient generations, unless it were when God enjoined them 
[so to do] by the command of his servants." See Authent. Rec. part i. p. 154. 

8 Of the books laid up in the temple, see the note on Antiq. B. III. ch. 1. sect. 7. 

9 Since not only Procopius and Suidas, but an earlier author, Moses Chorenensis, p. 52, 53, and perhaps 
from his original author Mariba Carina, one as old as Alexander the Great, sets down the famous inscription 
at Tangier concerning the old Canaanites driven out of Palestine by Joshua, take it here in that author's own 
words: "We are those exiles that were governors of the Canaanites, but have been driven away by Joshua 
the robber, and are come to inhabit here." See the note there. Nor is it unworthy of our notice what Moses 
Chorenensis adds, p. 53, and this upon a diligent examination, viz. that "one of those eminent men among 
the Canaanites came at the same time into Armenia, and founded the Genthunian family, or tribe; and that 
this was confirmed by the manners of the same family or tribe, as being like those of the Canaanites." 

10 By prophesying, when spoken of a high priest, Josephus, both here and frequently elsewhere, means 
no more than consulting God by Urim, which the reader is still to bear in mind upon all occasions. And if 
St. John, who was contemporary with Josephus, and of the same country, made use of this style, when he 
says that "Caiaphas being high priest that year, prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation, and not for 
that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered 
abroad," chap. 11:51, 52, he may possibly mean, that this was revealed to the high priest by an 
extraordinary voice from between the cherubims, when he had his breastplate, or Urim and Thummim, on 
before; or the most holy place of the temple, which was no other than the oracle of Urim and Thummim. Of 
which above, in the note on Antiq. B. III. ch. 8. sect. 9. 

11 This great number of seventy- two reguli, or small kings, over whom Adonibezek had tyrannized, and 
for which he was punished according to the lex talionis, as well as the thirty-one kings of Canaan subdued 



by Joshua, and named in one chapter, Joshua 12, and thirty-two kings, or royal auxiliaries to Benhadad king 
of Syria, 1 Kings 20: 1; Antiq. B. VIII. ch. 14. sect. 1, intimate to us what was the ancient form of 
government among several nations before the monarchies began, viz. that every city or large town, with its 
neighboring villages, was a distinct government by itself; which is the more remarkable, because this was 
certainly the form of ecclesiastical government that was settled by the apostles, and preserved throughout 
the Christian church in the first ages of Christianity. Mr. Addison is of opinion, that "it would certainly be 
for the good of mankind to have all the mighty empires and monarchies of the world cantoned out into 
petty states and principalities, which, like so many large families, might lie under the observation of their 
proper governors, so that the care of the prince might extend itself to every individual person under his 
protection; though he despairs of such a scheme being brought about, and thinks that if it were, it would 
quickly be destroyed." Remarks on Italy, 4 to, p. 151. Nor is it unfit to be observed here, that the Armenian 
records, though they give us the history of thirty-nine of their ancientest heroes or governors after the 
Flood, before the days of Sardanapalus, had no proper king till the fortieth, Paraerus. See Moses 
Chorenensis, p. 55. And that Almighty God does not approve of such absolute and tyrannical monarchies, 
any one may learn that reads Deuteronomy 17: 14-20, and 1 Samuel 8: 1-22; although, if such kings are set 
up as own him for their supreme King, and aim to govern according to his laws, he hath admitted of them, 
and protected them and their subjects in all generations. 

12 Josephus's early date of this history before the beginning of the Judges, or when there was no king in 
Israel, Judges 19:1, is strongly confirmed by the large number of Benjamites, both in the days of Asa and 
Jehoshaphat, 2 Chronicles 14:8, and 16: 17, who yet were here reduced to six hundred men; nor can those 
numbers be at all supposed genuine, if they were reduced so late as the end of the Judges, where our other 
copies place this reduction. 

13 Josephus seems here to have made a small mistake, when he took the Hebrew word Bethel, which 
denotes the house of God, or the tabernacle, Judges 20: 1 8, for the proper name of a place, Bethel, it no way 
appearing that the tabernacle was ever at Bethel; only so far it is true, that Shiloh, the place of the 
tabernacle in the days of the Judges, was not far from Bethel. 

14 It appears by the sacred history, Judges 1:16; 3: 13, that Eglon's pavilion or palace was at the City of 
Palm-Trees, as the place where Jericho had stood is called after its destruction by Joshua, that is, at or near 
the demolished city. Accordingly, Josephus says it was at Jericho, or rather in that fine country of palm- 
trees, upon, or near to, the same spot of ground on which Jericho had formerly stood, and on which it was 
rebuilt by Hiel, 1 Kings 16:31. Our other copies that avoid its proper name Jericho, and call it the City of 
Palm-Trees only, speak here more accurately than Josephus. 

15 These eighty years for the government of Ehud are necessary to Josephus's usual large numbers 
between the exodus and the building of the temple, of five hundred and ninety-two or six hundred and 
twelve years, but not to the smallest number of four hundred and eighty years, 1 Kings 6: 1 ; which lesser 
number Josephus seems sometimes to have followed. And since in the beginning of the next chapter it is 
said by Josephus, that there was hardly a breathing time for the Israelites before Jabin came and enslaved 
them, it is highly probable that some of the copies in his time had here only eight years instead of eighty; as 
had that of Theophilus of Antioch, Ad Autolyc. 1. iii., and this most probably from his copy of Josephus. 

16 Our present copies of Josephus all omit Tola among the judges, though the other copies have him next 
after Abimelech, and allot twenty- three years to his administration, Judges 10: 1, 2; yet do all Josephus's 
commentators conclude, that in Josephus's sum of the years of the judges, his twenty-three years are 
included; hence we are to confess, that somewhat has been here lost out of his copies. 

17 Josephus justly condemns Jephtha, as do the Apostolical Constitutions, B. VII. ch. 37, for his rash 
vow, whether it were for sacrificing his daughter, as Josephus thought, or for dedicating her, who was his 
only child, to perpetual virginity, at the tabernacle or elsewhere, which I rather suppose. If he had vowed 
her for a sacrifice, she ought to have been redeemed, Leviticus 27: 1-8; but of the sense of ver. 28, 29, as 
relating not to things vowed to. God, but devoted to destruction, see the note on Antiq. B. V ch. 1 . sect. 8. 

18 1 can discover no reason why Manoah and his wife came so constantly into these suburbs to pray for 
children, but because there was a synagogue or place of devotion in those suburbs. 

19 Here, by a prophet, Josephus seems only to mean one that was born by a particular providence, lived 
after the manner of a Nazarite devoted to God, and was to have an extraordinary commission and strength 
from God for the judging and avenging his people Israel, without any proper prophetic revelations at all. 

20 This fountain, called Lehi, or the Jaw-bone, is still in being, as travelers assure us, and was known by 
this very name in the days of Josephus, and has been known by the same name in all those past ages. See 
Antiq. B. VII. ch. 12. sect. 4. 



21 See this justly observed in the Apostolical Constitutions, B. VII. ch. 37, that Samson's prayer was 
heard, but that it was before this his transgression. 

22 Although there had been a few occasional prophets before, yet was this Samuel the first of a constant 
succession of prophets in the Jewish nation, as is implied in St. Peter's words, Acts 3:24 "Yea, and all the 
prophets, from Samuel, and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of those 
days." See also Acts 13:20. The others were rather sometime called righteous men, Matthew 10:41; 13:17. 

BOOK 6 

CONTAINING THE INTERVAL OF THIRTY-TWO YEARS 

FROM THE DEATH OF ELI TO THE DEATH OF SAUL 
CHAPTER 1 

THE DESTRUCTION THAT CAME UPON THE PHILISTINES, AND UPON 
THEIR LAND, BY THE WRATH OF GOD, ON ACCOUNT OF THEIR 
HAVING CARRIED THE ARK AWAY CAPTIVE; AND AFTER WHAT 
MANNER THEY SENT IT BACK TO THE HEBREWS 



1. When the Philistines had taken the ark of the Hebrews captive, as I said a 
little before, they carried it to the city of Ashdod, and put it by their own god, 
who was called Dagon, 1 as one of their spoils; but when they went into his 
temple the next morning to worship their god, they found him paying the same 
worship to the ark, for he lay along, as having fallen down from the basis 
whereon he had stood: so they took him up, and set him on his basis again, and 
were much troubled at what had happened; and as they frequently came to 
Dagon and found him still lying along, in a posture of adoration to the ark, they 
were in very great distress and confusion. At length God sent a very destructive 
disease upon the city and country of Ashdod, for they died of the dysentery or 
flux, a sore distemper, that brought death upon them very suddenly; for before 
the soul could, as usual in easy deaths, be well loosed from the body, they 
brought up their entrails, and vomited up what they had eaten, and what was 
entirely corrupted by the disease. And as to the fruits of their country, a great 
multitude of mice arose out of the earth and hurt them, and spared neither the 
plants nor the fruits. Now while the people of Ashdod were under these 
misfortunes, and were not able to support themselves under their calamities, 
they perceived that they suffered thus because of the ark, and that the victory 
they had gotten, and their having taken the ark captive, had not happened for 
their good; they therefore sent to the people of Askelon, and desired that they 
would receive the ark among them. This desire of the people of Ashdod was not 
disagreeable to those of Askelon, so they granted them that favor. But when 
they had gotten the ark, they were in the same miserable condition; for the ark 



carried along with it the disasters that the people of Ashdod had suffered, to 
those who received it from them. Those of Askelon also sent it away from 
themselves to others: nor did it stay among those others neither; for since they 
were pursued by the same disasters, they still sent it to the neighboring cities; 
so that the ark went round, after this manner, to the five cities of the Philistines, 
as though it exacted these disasters as a tribute to be paid it for its coming 
among them. 

2. When those that had experienced these miseries were tired out with them, 
and when those that heard of them were taught thereby not to admit the ark 
among them, since they paid so dear a tribute for it, at length they sought for 
some contrivance and method how they might get free from it: so the governors 
of the five cities, Gath, and Ekron, and Askelon, as also of Gaza, and Ashdod, 
met together, and considered what was fit to be done; and at first they thought 
proper to send the ark back to its own people, as allowing that God had 
avenged its cause; that the miseries they had undergone came along with it, and 
that these were sent on their cities upon its account, and together with it. 
However, there were those that said they should not do so, nor suffer 
themselves to be deluded, as ascribing the cause of their miseries to it, because 
it could not have such power and force upon them; for, had God had such a 
regard to it, it would not have been delivered into the hands of men. So they 
exhorted them to be quiet, and to take patiently what had befallen them, and to 
suppose there was no other cause of it but nature, which, at certain revolutions 
of time, produces such mutations in the bodies of men, in the earth, in plants, 
and in all things that grow out of the earth. But the counsel that prevailed over 
those already described, was that of certain men, who were believed to have 
distinguished themselves in former times for their understanding and prudence, 
and who, in their present circumstances, seemed above all the rest to speak 
properly. These men said it was not right either to send the ark away, or to 
retain it, but to dedicate five golden images, one for every city, as a thank- 
offering to God, on account of his having taken care of their preservation, and 
having kept them alive when their lives were likely to be taken away by such 
distempers as they were not able to bear up against. They also would have them 
make five golden mice like to those that devoured and destroyed their country, 2 
to put them in a bag, and lay them upon the ark; to make them a new cart also 
for it, and to yoke milch kine to it; 3 but to shut up their calves, and keep them 
from them, lest, by following after them, they should prove a hindrance to their 
dams, and that the dams might return the faster out of a desire of those calves; 
then to drive these milch kine that carried the ark, and leave it at a place where 
three ways met, and So leave it to the kine to go along which of those ways 
they pleased; that in case they went the way to the Hebrews, and ascended to 
their country, they should suppose that the ark was the cause of their 



misfortunes; but if they turned into another road, they said, "We will pursue 
after it, and conclude that it has no such force in it." 

3. So they determined that these men spake well; and they immediately 
confirmed their opinion by doing accordingly. And when they had done as has 
been already described, they brought the cart to a place where three ways met, 
and left it there and went their ways; but the kine went the right way, and as if 
some persons had driven them, while the rulers of the Philistines followed after 
them, as desirous to know where they would stand still, and to whom they 
would go. Now there was a certain village of the tribe of Judah, the name of 
which was Bethshemesh, and to that village did the kine go; and though there 
was a great and good plain before them to proceed in, they went no farther, but 
stopped the cart there. This was a sight to those of that village, and they were 
very glad; for it being then summer-time, and all the inhabitants being then in 
the fields gathering in their fruits, they left off the labors of their hands for joy, 
as soon as they saw the ark, and ran to the cart, and taking the ark down, and 
the vessel that had the images in it, and the mice, they set them upon a certain 
rock which was in the plain; and when they had offered a splendid sacrifice to 
God, and feasted, they offered the cart and the kine as a burnt-offering: and 
when the lords of the Philistines saw this, they returned back. 

4. But now it was that the wrath of God overtook them, and struck seventy 
persons 4 of the village of Bethshemesh dead, who, not being priests, and so not 
worthy to touch the ark, had approached to it. Those of that village wept for 
these that had thus suffered, and made such a lamentation as was naturally to be 
expected on so great a misfortune that was sent from God; and every one 
mourned for his own relation. And since they acknowledged themselves 
unworthy of the ark's abode with them, they sent to the public senate of the 
Israelites, and informed them that the ark was restored by the Philistines; which 
when they knew, they brought it away to Kirjathjearim, a city in the 
neighborhood of Bethshemesh. In this city lived one Abinadab, by birth a 
Levite, and who was greatly commended for his righteous and religious course 
of life; so they brought the ark to his house, as to a place fit for God himself to 
abide in, since therein did inhabit a righteous man. His sons also ministered to 
the Divine service at the ark, and were the principal curators of it for twenty 
years; for so many years it continued in Kirjathjearim, having been but four 
months with the Philistines. 

CHAPTER 2 

THE EXPEDITION OF THE PHILISTINES AGAINST THE HEBREWS 
AND THE HEBREWS' VICTORY UNDER THE CONDUCT OF SAMUEL 
THE PROPHET, WHO WAS THEIR GENERAL 



1. Now while the city of Kirjathjearim had the ark with them, the whole body 
of the people betook themselves all that time to offer prayers and sacrifices to 
God, and appeared greatly concerned and zealous about his worship. So 
Samuel the prophet, seeing how ready they were to do their duty, thought this a 
proper time to speak to them, while they were in this good disposition, about 
the recovery of their liberty, and of the blessings that accompanied the same. 
Accordingly he used such words to them as he thought were most likely to 
excite that inclination, and to persuade them to attempt it: "O you Israelites," 
said he, "to whom the Philistines are still grievous enemies, but to whom God 
begins to be gracious, it behooves you not only to be desirous of liberty, but to 
take the proper methods to obtain it. Nor are you to be contented with an 
inclination to get clear of your lords and masters, while you still do what will 
procure your continuance under them. Be righteous then, and cast wickedness 
out of your souls, and by your worship supplicate the Divine Majesty with all 
your hearts, and persevere in the honor you pay to him; for if you act thus, you 
will enjoy prosperity; you will be freed from your slavery, and will get the 
victory over your enemies: which blessings it is not possible you should attain, 
either by weapons of war, or by the strength of your bodies, or by the multitude 
of your assistants; for God has not promised to grant these blessings by those 
means, but by being good and righteous men; and if you will be such, I will be 
security to you for the performance of God's promises." When Samuel had said 
thus, the multitude applauded his discourse, and were pleased with his 
exhortation to them, and gave their consent to resign themselves up to do what 
was pleasing to God. So Samuel gathered them together to a certain city called 
Mizpeh, which, in the Hebrew tongue, signifies a watch-tower; there they drew 
water, and poured it out to God, and fasted all day, and betook themselves to 
their prayers. 

2. This their assembly did not escape the notice of the Philistines: so when 
they had learned that so large a company had met together, they fell upon the 
Hebrews with a great army and mighty forces, as hoping to assault them when 
they did not expect it, nor were prepared for it. This thing affrighted the 
Hebrews, and put them into disorder and terror; so they came running to 
Samuel, and said that their souls were sunk by their fears, and by the former 
defeat they had received, and "that thence it was that we lay still, lest we should 
excite the power of our enemies against us. Now while thou hast brought us 
hither to offer up our prayers and sacrifices, and take oaths [to be obedient], our 
enemies are making an expedition against us, while we are naked and unarmed; 
wherefore we have no other hope of deliverance but that by thy means, and by 
the assistance God shall afford us upon thy prayers to him, we shall obtain 
deliverance from the Philistines." Hereupon Samuel bade them be of good 



cheer, and promised them that God would assist them; and taking a sucking 
lamb, he sacrificed it for the multitude, and besought God to hold his protecting 
hand over them when they should fight with the Philistines, and not to overlook 
them, nor suffer them to come under a second misfortune. Accordingly God 
hearkened to his prayers, and accepting their sacrifice with a gracious intention, 
and such as was disposed to assist them, he granted them victory and power 
over their enemies. Now while the altar had the sacrifice of God upon it, and 
had not yet consumed it wholly by its sacred fire, the enemy's army marched 
out of their camp, and was put in order of battle, and this in hope that they 
should be conquerors, since the Jews 5 were caught in distressed circumstances, 
as neither having their weapons with them, nor being assembled there in order 
to fight. But things so fell out, that they would hardly have been credited 
though they had been foretold by anybody: for, in the first place, God disturbed 
their enemies with an earthquake, and moved the ground under them to such a 
degree, that he caused it to tremble, and made them to shake, insomuch that by 
its trembling, he made some unable to keep their feet, and made them fall 
down, and by opening its chasms, he caused that others should be hurried down 
into them; after which he caused such a noise of thunder to come among them, 
and made fiery lightning shine so terribly round about them, that it was ready to 
burn their faces; and he so suddenly shook their weapons out of their hands, 
that he made them fly and return home naked. So Samuel with the multitude 
pursued them to Bethcar, a place so called; and there he set up a stone as a 
boundary of their victory and their enemies' flight, and called it the Stone of 
Power, as a signal of that power God had given them against their enemies. 

3. So the Philistines, after this stroke, made no more expeditions against the 
Israelites, but lay still out of fear, and out of remembrance of what had befallen 
them; and what courage the Philistines had formerly against the Hebrews, that, 
after this victory, was transferred to the Hebrews. Samuel also made an 
expedition against the Philistines, and slew many of them, and entirely 
humbled their proud hearts, and took from them that country, which, when they 
were formerly conquerors in battle, they had cut off from the Jews, which was 
the country that extended from the borders of Gath to the city of Ekron: but the 
remains of the Canaanites were at this time in friendship with the Israelites. 

CHAPTER 3 

HOW SAMUEL, WHEN HE WAS SO INFIRM WITH OLD AGE THAT HE 
COULD NOT TAKE CARE OF THE PUBLIC AFFAIRS, INTRUSTED 
THEM TO HIS SONS; AND HOW UPON THE EVIL ADMINISTRATION 
OF THE GOVERNMENT BY THEM, THE MULTITUDE WERE SO 
ANGRY, THAT THEY REQUIRED TO HAVE A KING TO GOVERN THEM, 



ALTHOUGH SAMUEL WAS MUCH DISPLEASED THEREAT 



1. But Samuel the prophet, when he had ordered the affairs of the people after 
a convenient manner, and had appointed a city for every district of them, he 
commanded them to come to such cities, to have the controversies that they had 
one with another determined in them, he himself going over those cities twice 
in a year, and doing them justice; and by that means he kept them in very good 
order for a long time. 

2. But afterwards he found himself oppressed with old age, and not able to 
do what he used to do, so he committed the government and the care of the 
multitude to his sons, — the elder of whom was called Joel, and the name of the 
younger was Abiah. He also enjoined them to reside and judge the people, the 
one at the city of Bethel, and the other at Beersheba, and divided the people 
into districts that should be under the jurisdiction of each of them. Now these 
men afford us an evident example and demonstration how some children are 
not of the like dispositions with their parents; but sometimes perhaps good and 
moderate, though born of wicked parents; and sometimes showing themselves 
to be wicked, though born of good parents: for these men turning aside from 
their father's good courses, and taking a course that was contrary to them, 
perverted justice for the filthy lucre of gifts and bribes, and made their 
determinations not according to truth, but according to bribery, and turned aside 
to luxury, and a costly way of living; so that as, in the first place, they practiced 
what was contrary to the will of God, so did they, in the second place, what was 
contrary to the will of the prophet their father, who had taken a great deal of 
care, and made a very careful provision that the multitude should be righteous. 

3. But the people, upon these injuries offered to their former constitution 
and government by the prophet's sons, were very uneasy at their actions, and 
came running to the prophet, who then lived at the city Ramah, and informed 
him of the transgressions of his sons; and said, that as he was himself old 
already, and too infirm by that age of his to oversee their affairs in the manner 
he used to do, so they begged of him, and entreated him, to appoint some 
person to be king over them, who might rule over the nation, and avenge them 
of the Philistines, who ought to be punished for their former oppressions. These 
words greatly afflicted Samuel, on account of his innate love of justice, and his 
hatred to kingly government, for he was very fond of an aristocracy, as what 
made the men that used it of a divine and happy disposition; nor could he either 
think of eating or sleeping, out of his concern and torment of mind at what they 
had said, but all the night long did he continue awake and revolved these 
notions in his mind. 

4. While he was thus disposed, God appeared to him, and comforted him, 
saying, that he ought not to be uneasy at what the multitude desired, because it 



was not he, but Himself whom they so insolently despised, and would not have 
to be alone their king; that they had been contriving these things from the very 
day that they came out of Egypt; that however in no long time they would 
sorely repent of what they did, which repentance yet could not undo what was 
thus done for futurity; that they would be sufficiently rebuked for their 
contempt, and the ungrateful conduct they have used towards me, and towards 
thy prophetic office. "So I command thee to ordain them such a one as I shall 
name beforehand to be their king, when thou hast first described what 
mischiefs kingly government will bring upon them, and openly testified before 
them into what a great change of affairs they are hasting." 

5. When Samuel had heard this, he called the Jews early in the morning, 
and confessed to them that he was to ordain them a king; but he said that he 
was first to describe to them what would follow, what treatment they would 
receive from their kings, and with how many mischiefs they must struggle. 
"For know ye," said he, "that, in the first place, they will take your sons away 
from you, and they will command some of them to be drivers of their chariots, 
and some to be their horsemen, and the guards of their body, and others of them 
to be runners before them, and captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds; 
they will also make them their artificers, makers of armor, and of chariots, and 
of instruments; they will make them their husbandmen also, and the curators of 
their own fields, and the diggers of their own vineyards; nor will there be any 
thing which they will not do at their commands, as if they were slaves bought 
with money. They will also appoint your daughters to be confectioners, and 
cooks, and bakers; and these will be obliged to do all sorts of work which 
women slaves, that are in fear of stripes and torments, submit to. They will, 
besides this, take away your possessions, and bestow them upon their eunuchs, 
and the guards of their bodies, and will give the herds of your cattle to their 
own servants: and to say briefly all at once, you, and all that is yours, will be 
servants to your king, and will become no way superior to his slaves; and when 
you suffer thus, you will thereby be put in mind of what I now say. And when 
you repent of what you have done, you will beseech God to have mercy upon 
you, and to grant you a quick deliverance from your kings; but he will not 
accept your prayers, but will neglect you, and permit you to suffer the 
punishment your evil conduct has deserved." 

6. But the multitude was still so foolish as to be deaf to these predictions of 
what would befall them; and too peevish to suffer a determination which they 
had injudiciously once made, to be taken out of their mind; for they could not 
be turned from their purpose, nor did they regard the words of Samuel, but 
peremptorily insisted on their resolution, and desired him to ordain them a king 
immediately, and not trouble himself with fears of what would happen 
hereafter, for that it was necessary they should have with them one to fight their 



battles, and to avenge them of their enemies, and that it was no way absurd, 
when their neighbors were under kingly government, that they should have the 
same form of government also. So when Samuel saw that what he had said had 
not diverted them from their purpose, but that they continued resolute, he said, 
"Go you every one home for the present; when it is fit I will send for you, as 
soon as I shall have learned from God who it is that he will give you for your 
king." 

CHAPTER 4 

THE APPOINTMENT OF A KING OVER THE ISRAELITES, WHOSE 
NAME WAS SAUL; AND THIS BY THE COMMAND OF GOD 



1. There was one of the tribe of Benjamin, a man of a good family, and of a 
virtuous disposition; his name was Kish. He had a son, a young man of a 
comely countenance, and of a tall body, but his understanding and his mind 
were preferable to what was visible in him: they called him Saul. Now this 
Kish had some fine she-asses that were wandered out of the pasture wherein 
they fed, for he was more delighted with these than with any other cattle he 
had; so he sent out his son, and one servant with him, to search for the beasts; 
but when he had gone over his own tribe in search after the asses, he went to 
other tribes, and when he found them not there neither, he determined to go his 
way home, lest he should occasion any concern to his father about himself. But 
when his servant that followed him told him as they were near the city of 
Ramah, that there was a true prophet in that city, and advised him to go to him, 
for that by him they should know the upshot of the affair of their asses, he 
replied, that if they should go to him, they had nothing to give him as a reward 
for his prophecy, for their subsistence money was spent. The servant answered, 
that he had still the fourth part of a shekel, and he would present him with that; 
for they were mistaken out of ignorance, as not knowing that the prophet 
received no such reward. 6 So they went to him; and when they were before the 
gates, they lit upon certain maidens that were going to fetch water, and they 
asked them which was the prophet's house. They showed them which it was; 
and bid them make haste before he sat down to supper, for he had invited many 
guests to a feast, and that he used to sit down before those that were invited. 
Now Samuel had then gathered many together to feast with him on this very 
account; for while he every day prayed to God to tell him beforehand whom he 
would make king, he had informed him of this man the day before, for that he 
would send him a certain young man out of the tribe of Benjamin about this 
hour of the day; and he sat on the top of the house in expectation of that time's 



being come. And when the time was completed, he came down and went to 
supper; so he met with Saul, and God discovered to him that this was he who 
should rule over them. Then Saul went up to Samuel and saluted him, and 
desired him to inform him which was the prophet's house; for he said he was a 
stranger and did not know it. When Samuel had told him that he himself was 
the person, he led him in to supper, and assured him that the asses were found 
which he had been to seek, and that the greatest of good things were assured to 
him: he replied, "I am too inconsiderable to hope for any such thing, and of a 
tribe to small to have kings made out of it, and of a family smaller than several 
other families; but thou tellest me this in jest, and makest me an object of 
laughter, when thou discoursest with me of greater matters than what I stand in 
need of." However, the prophet led him in to the feast, and made him sit down, 
him and his servant that followed him, above the other guests that were invited, 
which were seventy in number; 7 and he gave orders to the servants to set the 
royal portion before Saul. And when the time of going to bed was come, the 
rest rose up, and every one of them went home; but Saul staid with the prophet, 
he and his servant, and slept with him. 

2. Now as soon as it was day, Samuel raised up Saul out of his bed, and 
conducted him homeward; and when he was out of the city, he desired him to 
cause his servant to go before, but to stay behind himself, for that he had 
somewhat to say to him when nobody else was present. Accordingly, Saul sent 
away his servant that followed him; then did the prophet take a vessel of oil, 
and poured it upon the head of the young man, and kissed him, and said, "Be 
thou a king, by the ordination of God, against the Philistines, and for avenging 
the Hebrews for what they have suffered by them; of this thou shalt have a sign, 
which I would have thee take notice of: — As soon as thou art departed hence, 
thou will find three men upon the road, going to worship God at Bethel; the 
first of whom thou wilt see carrying three loaves of bread, the second carrying 
a kid of the goats, and the third will follow them carrying a bottle of wine. 
These three men will salute thee, and speak kindly to thee, and will give thee 
two of their loaves, which thou shalt accept of. And thence thou shalt come to a 
place called Rachel's Monument, where thou shalt meet with those that will tell 
thee thy asses are found; after this, when thou comest to Gabatha, thou shalt 
overtake a company of prophets, and thou shalt be seized with the divine spirit, 8 
and prophesy along with them, till every one that sees thee shall be astonished, 
and wonder, and say, whence is it that the son of Kish has arrived at this degree 
of happiness? And when these signs have happened to thee, know that God is 
with thee; then do thou salute thy father and thy kindred. Thou shalt also come 
when I send for thee to Gilgal, that we may offer thank-offerings to God for 
these blessings." When Samuel had said this, and foretold these things, he sent 
the young man away. Now all things fell out to Saul according to the prophecy 



of Samuel. 

3. But as soon as Saul came into the house of his kinsman Abner, whom 
indeed he loved better than the rest of his relations, he was asked by him 
concerning his journey, and what accidents happened to him therein; and he 
concealed none of the other things from him, no, not his coming to Samuel the 
prophet, nor how he told him the asses were found; but he said nothing to him 
about the kingdom, and what belonged thereto, which he thought would 
procure him envy, and when such things are heard, they are not easily believed; 
nor did he think it prudent to tell those things to him, although he appeared very 
friendly to him, and one whom he loved above the rest of his relations, 
considering, I suppose, what human nature really is, that no one is a firm friend, 
neither among our intimates, nor of our kindred; nor do they preserve that kind 
disposition when God advances men to great prosperity, but they are still ill- 
natured and envious at those that are in eminent stations. 

4. Then Samuel called the people together to the city Mizpeh, and spake to 
them in the words following, which he said he was to speak by the command of 
God: — That when he had granted them a state of liberty, and brought their 
enemies into subjection, they were become unmindful of his benefits, and 
rejected God that he should not be their King, as not considering that it would 
be most for their advantage to be presided over by the best of beings, for God is 
the best of beings, and they chose to have a man for their king; while kings will 
use their subjects as beasts, according to the violence of their own wills and 
inclinations, and other passions, as wholly carried away with the lust of power, 
but will not endeavor so to preserve the race of mankind as his own 
workmanship and creation, which, for that very reason, God would take cake 
of. "But since you have come to a fixed resolution, and this injurious treatment 
of God has quite prevailed over you, dispose yourselves by your tribes and 
sceptres, and cast lots." 

5. When the Hebrews had so done, the lot fell upon the tribe of Benjamin; 
and when the lot was cast for the families of this tribe, that which was called 
Matri was taken; and when the lot was cast for the single persons of that family, 
Saul, the son of Kish, was taken for their king. When the young man knew this, 
he prevented [their sending for him], and immediately went away and hid 
himself. I suppose that it was because he would not have it thought that he 
willingly took the government upon him; nay, he showed such a degree of 
command over himself, and of modesty, that while the greatest part are not able 
to contain their joy, even in the gaining of small advantages, but presently show 
themselves publicly to all men, this man did not only show nothing of that 
nature, when he was appointed to be the lord of so many and so great tribes, but 
crept away and concealed himself out of the sight of those he was to reign over, 
and made them seek him, and that with a good deal of trouble. So when the 



people were at a loss, and solicitous, because Saul disappeared, the prophet 
besought God to show where the young man was, and to produce him before 
them. So when they had learned of God the place where Saul was hidden, they 
sent men to bring him; and when he was come, they set him in the midst of the 
multitude. Now he was taller than any of them, and his stature was very 
majestic. 

6. Then said the prophet, "God gives you this man to be your king: see how 
he is higher than any of the people, and worthy of this dominion." So as soon as 
the people had made acclamation, God save the king, the prophet wrote down 
what would come to pass in a book, and read it in the hearing of the king, and 
laid up the book in the tabernacle of God, to be a witness to future generations 
of what he had foretold. So when Samuel had finished this matter, he dismissed 
the multitude, and came himself to the city Ramah, for it was his own country. 
Saul also went away to Gibeah, where he was born; and many good men there 
were who paid him the respect that was due to him; but the greater part were ill 
men, who despised him and derided the others, who neither did bring him 
presents, nor did they in affection, or even in words, regard to please him. 

CHAPTER 5 

SAUL'S EXPEDITION AGAINST THE NATION OF THE AMMONITES 
AND VICTORY OVER THEM AND THE SPOILS HE TOOK FROM THEM 



1. After one month, the war which Saul had with Nahash, the king of the 
Ammonites, obtained him respect from all the people; for this Nahash had done 
a great deal of mischief to the Jews that lived beyond Jordan by the expedition 
he had made against them with a great and warlike army. He also reduced their 
cities into slavery, and that not only by subduing them for the present, which he 
did by force and violence, but by weakening them by subtlety and cunning, that 
they might not be able afterward to get clear of the slavery they were under to 
him; for he put out the right eyes 9 of those that either delivered themselves to 
him upon terms, or were taken by him in war; and this he did, that when their 
left eyes were covered by their shields, they might be wholly useless in war. 
Now when the king of the Ammonites had served those beyond Jordan in this 
manner, he led his army against those that were called Gileadites, and having 
pitched his camp at the metropolis of his enemies, which was the city of Jabesh, 
he sent ambassadors to them, commanding them either to deliver themselves 
up, on condition to have their right eyes plucked out, or to undergo a siege, and 
to have their cities overthrown. He gave them their choice, whether they would 
cut off a small member of their body, or universally perish. However, the 



Gileadites were so affrighted at these offers, that they had not courage to say 
any thing to either of them, neither that they would deliver themselves up, nor 
that they would fight him. But they desired that he would give them seven days' 
respite, that they might send ambassadors to their countrymen, and entreat their 
assistance; and if they came to assist them, they would fight; but if that 
assistance were impossible to be obtained from them, they said they would 
deliver themselves up to suffer whatever he pleased to inflict upon them. 

2. So Nahash, contemning the multitude of the Gileadites and the answer 
they gave, allowed them a respite, and gave them leave to send to whomsoever 
they pleased for assistance. So they immediately sent to the Israelites, city by 
city, and informed them what Nahash had threatened to do to them, and what 
great distress they were in. Now the people fell into tears and grief at the 
hearing of what the ambassadors from Jabesh said; and the terror they were in 
permitted them to do nothing more. But when the messengers were come to the 
city of king Saul, and declared the dangers in which the inhabitants of Jabesh 
were, the people were in the same affliction as those in the other cities, for they 
lamented the calamity of those related to them. And when Saul was returned 
from his husbandry into the city, he found his fellow citizens weeping; and 
when, upon inquiry, he had learned the cause of the confusion and sadness they 
were in, he was seized with a divine fury, and sent away the ambassadors from 
the inhabitants of Jabesh, and promised them to come to their assistance on the 
third day, and to beat their enemies before sun-rising, that the sun upon its 
rising might see that they had already conquered, and were freed from the fears 
they were under: but he bid some of them stay to conduct them the right way to 
Jabesh. 

3. So being desirous to turn the people to this war against the Ammonites 
by fear of the losses they should otherwise undergo, and that they might the 
more suddenly be gathered together, he cut the sinews of his oxen, and 
threatened to do the same to all such as did not come with their armor to Jordan 
the next day, and follow him and Samuel the prophet whithersoever they should 
lead them. So they came together, out of fear of the losses they were threatened 
with, at the appointed time. And the multitude were numbered at the city 
Bezek. And he found the number of those that were gathered together, besides 
that of the tribe of Judah, to be seven hundred thousand, while those of that 
tribe were seventy thousand. So he passed over Jordan, and proceeded in 
marching all that night, thirty furlongs, and came to Jabesh before sun-rising. 
So he divided the army into three companies; and fell upon their enemies on 
every side on the sudden, and when they expected no such thing; and joining 
battle with them, they slew a great many of the Ammonites, as also their king 
Nahash. This glorious action was done by Saul, and was related with great 
commendation of him to all the Hebrews; and he thence gained a wonderful 



reputation for his valor: for although there were some of them that contemned 
him before, they now changed their minds, and honored him, and esteemed him 
as the best of men: for he did not content himself with having saved the 
inhabitants of Jabesh only, but he made an expedition into the country of the 
Ammonites, and laid it all waste, and took a large prey, and so returned to his 
own country most gloriously. So the people were greatly pleased at these 
excellent performances of Saul, and rejoiced that they had constituted him their 
king. They also made a clamor against those that pretended he would be of no 
advantage to their affairs; and they said, where now are these men? — let them 
be brought to punishment, with all the like things that multitudes usually say 
when they are elevated with prosperity, against those that lately had despised 
the authors of it. But Saul, although he took the good-will and the affection of 
these men very kindly, yet did he swear that he would not see any of his 
countrymen slain that day, since it was absurd to mix this victory, which God 
had given them, with the blood and slaughter of those that were of the same 
lineage with themselves; and that it was more agreeable to be men of a friendly 
disposition, and so to betake themselves to feasting. 

4. And when Samuel had told them that he ought to confirm the kingdom to 
Saul by a second ordination of him, they all came together to the city of Gilgal, 
for thither did he command them to come. So the prophet anointed Saul with 
the holy oil in the sight of the multitude, and declared him to be king the 
second time. And so the government of the Hebrews was changed into a regal 
government; for in the days of Moses, and his disciple Joshua, who was their 
general, they continued under an aristocracy; but after the death of Joshua, for 
eighteen years in all, the multitude had no settled form of government, but were 
in an anarchy; after which they returned to their former government, they then 
permitting themselves to be judged by him who appeared to be the best warrior 
and most courageous, whence it was that they called this interval of their 
government the Judges. 

5. Then did Samuel the prophet call another assembly also, and said to 
them, "I solemnly adjure you by God Almighty, who brought those excellent 
brethren, I mean Moses and Aaron, into the world, and delivered our fathers 
from the Egyptians, and from the slavery they endured under them, that you 
will not speak what you say to gratify me, nor suppress any thing out of fear of 
me, nor be overborne by any other passion, but say, What have I ever done that 
was cruel or unjust? or what have I done out of lucre or covetousness, or to 
gratify others? Bear witness against me, if I have taken an ox or a sheep, or any 
such thing, which yet when they are taken to support men, it is esteemed 
blameless; or have I taken an ass for mine own use of any one to his grief? — 
lay some one such crime to my charge, now we are in your king's presence." 
But they cried out, that no such thing had been done by him, but that he had 



presided over the nation after a holy and righteous manner. 

6. Hereupon Samuel, when such a testimony had been given him by them 
all, said, "Since you grant that you are not able to lay any ill thing to my charge 
hitherto, come on now, and do you hearken while I speak with great freedom to 
you. You have been guilty of great impiety against God, in asking you a king. It 
behoves you to remember that our grandfather Jacob came down into Egypt, by 
reason of a famine, with seventy souls only of our family, and that their 
posterity multiplied there to many ten thousands, whom the Egyptians brought 
into slavery and hard oppression; that God himself, upon the prayers of our 
fathers, sent Moses and Aaron, who were brethren, and gave them power to 
deliver the multitude out of their distress, and this without a king. These 
brought us into this very land which you now possess: and when you enjoyed 
these advantages from God, you betrayed his worship and religion; nay, 
moreover, when you were brought under the hands of your enemies, he 
delivered you, first by rendering you superior to the Assyrians and their forces, 
he then made you to overcome the Ammonites and the Moabites, and last of all 
the Philistines; and these things have been achieved under the conduct of 
Jephtha and Gideon. What madness therefore possessed you to fly from God, 
and to desire to be under a king? — yet have I ordained him for king whom he 
chose for you. However, that I may make it plain to you that God is angry and 
displeased at your choice of kingly government, I will so dispose him that he 
shall declare this very plainly to you by strange signals; for what none of you 
ever saw here before, I mean a winter storm in the midst of harvest, 10 1 will 
entreat of God, and will make it visible to you." Now, as soon as he had said 
this, God gave such great signals by thunder and lightning, and the descent of 
hail, as attested the truth of all that the prophet had said, insomuch that they 
were amazed and terrified, and confessed they had sinned, and had fallen into 
that sin through ignorance; and besought the prophet, as one that was a tender 
and gentle father to them, to render God so merciful as to forgive this their sin, 
which they had added to those other offenses whereby they had affronted him 
and transgressed against him. So he promised them that he would beseech God, 
and persuade him to forgive them these their sins. However, he advised them to 
be righteous, and to be good, and ever to remember the miseries that had 
befallen them on account of their departure from virtue: as also to remember 
the strange signs God had shown them, and the body of laws that Moses had 
given them, if they had any desire of being preserved and made happy with 
their king. But he said, that if they should grow careless of these things, great 
judgments would come from God upon them, and upon their king. And when 
Samuel had thus prophesied to the Hebrews, he dismissed them to their own 
homes, having confirmed the kingdom to Saul the second time. 



CHAPTER 6 

HOW THE PHILISTINES MADE ANOTHER EXPEDITION AGAINST THE 
HEBREWS AND WERE BEATEN 



1. Now Saul chose out of the multitude about three thousand men, and he took 
two thousand of them to be the guards of his own body, and abode in the city 
Bethel, but he gave the rest of them to Jonathan his son, to be the guards of his 
body; and sent him to Gibeah, where he besieged and took a certain garrison of 
the Philistines, not far from Gilgal; for the Philistines of Gibeah had beaten the 
Jews, and taken their weapons away, and had put garrisons into the strongest 
places of the country, and had forbidden them to carry any instrument of iron, 
or at all to make use of any iron in any case whatsoever. And on account of this 
prohibition it was that the husbandmen, if they had occasion to sharpen any of 
their tools, whether it were the coulter or the spade, or any instrument of 
husbandry, they came to the Philistines to do it. Now as soon as the Philistines 
heard of this slaughter of their garrison, they were in a rage about it, and, 
looking on this contempt as a terrible affront offered them, they made war 
against the Jews, with three hundred thousand footmen, and thirty thousand 
chariots, and six thousand horses; and they pitched their camp at the city 
Michmash. When Saul, the king of the Hebrews, was informed of this, he went 
down to the city Gilgal, and made proclamation over all the country, that they 
should try to regain their liberty; and called them to the war against the 
Philistines, diminishing their forces, and despising them as not very 
considerable, and as not so great but they might hazard a battle with them. But 
when the people about Saul observed how numerous the Philistines were, they 
were under a great consternation; and some of them hid themselves in caves 
and in dens under ground, but the greater part fled into the land beyond Jordan, 
which belonged to Gad and Reuben. 

2. But Saul sent to the prophet, and called him to consult with him about the 
war and the public affairs; so he commanded him to stay there for him, and to 
prepare sacrifices, for he would come to him within seven days, that they might 
offer sacrifices on the seventh day, and might then join battle with their 
enemies. So he waited, 11 as the prophet sent to him to do; yet did not he, 
however, observe the command that was given him, but when he saw that the 
prophet tarried longer than he expected, and that he was deserted by the 
soldiers, he took the sacrifices and offered them; and when he heard that 
Samuel was come, he went out to meet him. But the prophet said he had not 
done well in disobeying the injunctions he had sent to him, and had not staid till 
his coming, which being appointed according to the will of God, he had 
prevented him in offering up those prayers and those sacrifices that he should 



have made for the multitude, and that he therefore had performed Divine 
offices in an ill manner, and had been rash in performing them. Hereupon Saul 
made an apology for himself, and said that he had waited as many days as 
Samuel had appointed him; that he had been so quick in offering his sacrifices, 
upon account of the necessity he was in, and because his soldiers were 
departing from him, out of their fear of the enemy's camp at Michmash, the 
report being gone abroad that they were coming down upon him of Gilgal. To 
which Samuel replied, "Nay, certainly, if thou hadst been a righteous man, 12 and 
hadst not disobeyed me, nor slighted the commands which God suggested to 
me concerning the present state of affairs, and hadst not acted more hastily than 
the present circumstances required, thou wouldst have been permitted to reign a 
long time, and thy posterity after thee." So Samuel, being grieved at what 
happened, returned home; but Saul came to the city Gibeah, with his son 
Jonathan, having only six hundred men with him; and of these the greater part 
had no weapons, because of the scarcity of iron in that country, as well as of 
those that could make such weapons; for, as we showed a little before, the 
Philistines had not suffered them to have such iron or such workmen. Now the 
Philistines divided their army into three companies, and took as many roads, 
and laid waste the country of the Hebrews, while king Saul and his son 
Jonathan saw what was done, but were not able to defend the land, having no 
more than six hundred men with them. But as he, and his son, and Abiah the 
high priest, who was of the posterity of Eli the high priest, were sitting upon a 
pretty high hill, and seeing the land laid waste, they were mightily disturbed at 
it. Now Saul's son agreed with his armor-bearer, that they would go privately to 
the enemy's camp, and make a tumult and a disturbance among them. And 
when the armor-bearer had readily promised to follow him whithersoever he 
should lead him, though he should be obliged to die in the attempt, Jonathan 
made use of the young man's assistance, and descended from the hill, and went 
to their enemies. Now the enemy's camp was upon a precipice which had three 
tops, that ended in a small but sharp and long extremity, while there was a rock 
that surrounded them, like lines made to prevent the attacks of an enemy. There 
it so happened, that the out-guards of the camp were neglected, because of the 
security that here arose from the situation of the place, and because they 
thought it altogether impossible, not only to ascend up to the camp on that 
quarter, but so much as to come near it. As soon, therefore, as they came to the 
camp, Jonathan encouraged his armor-bearer, and said to him, "Let us attack 
our enemies; and if, when they see us, they bid us come up to them, take that 
for a signal of victory; but if they say nothing, as not intending to invite us to 
come up, let us return back again." So when they were approaching to the 
enemy's camp, just after break of day, and the Philistines saw them, they said 
one to another, "The Hebrews come out of their dens and caves:" and they said 



to Jonathan and to his armor-bearer, "Come on, ascend up to us, that we may 
inflict a just punishment upon you, for your rash attempt upon us." So Saul's 
son accepted of that invitation, as what signified to him victory, and he 
immediately came out of the place whence they were seen by their enemies: so 
he changed his place, and came to the rock, which had none to guard it, because 
of its own strength; from thence they crept up with great labor and difficulty, 
and so far overcame by force the nature of the place, till they were able to fight 
with their enemies. So they fell upon them as they were asleep, and slew about 
twenty of them, and thereby filled them with disorder and surprise, insomuch 
that some of them threw away their entire armor and fled; but the greatest part, 
not knowing one another, because they were of different nations, suspected one 
another to be enemies, (for they did not imagine there were only two of the 
Hebrews that came up,) and so they fought one against another; and some of 
them died in the battle, and some, as they were flying away, were thrown down 
from the rock headlong. 

3. Now Saul's watchmen told the king that the camp of the Philistines was 
in confusion; then he inquired whether any body was gone away from the 
army; and when he heard that his son, and with him his armor-bearer, were 
absent, he bade the high priest take the garments of his high priesthood, and 
prophesy to him what success they should have; who said that they should get 
the victory, and prevail against their enemies. So he went out after the 
Philistines, and set upon them as they were slaying one another. Those also 
who had fled to dens and caves, upon hearing that Saul was gaining a victory, 
came running to him. When, therefore, the number of the Hebrews that came to 
Saul amounted to about ten thousand, he pursued the enemy, who were 
scattered all over the country; but then he fell into an action, which was a very 
unhappy one, and liable to be very much blamed; for, whether out of ignorance 
or whether out of joy for a victory gained so strangely, (for it frequently 
happens that persons so fortunate are not then able to use their reason 
consistently,) as he was desirous to avenge himself, and to exact a due 
punishment of the Philistines, he denounced a curse 13 upon the Hebrews: that if 
any one put a stop to his slaughter of the enemy, and fell on eating, and left off 
the slaughter or the pursuit before the night came on, and obliged them so to 
do, he should be accursed. Now after Saul had denounced this curse, since they 
were now in a wood belonging to the tribe of Ephraim, which was thick and 
full of bees, Saul's son, who did not hear his father denounce that curse, nor 
hear of the approbation the multitude gave to it, broke off a piece of a honey- 
comb, and ate part of it. But, in the mean time, he was informed with what a 
curse his father had forbidden them to taste any thing before sun-setting: so he 
left off eating, and said his father had not done well in this prohibition, because, 
had they taken some food, they had pursued the enemy with greater rigor and 



alacrity, and had both taken and slain many more of their enemies. 

4. When, therefore, they had slain many ten thousands of the Philistines, 
they fell upon spoiling the camp of the Philistines, but not till late in the 
evening. They also took a great deal of prey and cattle, and killed them, and ate 
them with their blood. This was told to the king by the scribes, that the 
multitude were sinning against God as they sacrificed, and were eating before 
the blood was well washed away, and the flesh was made clean. Then did Saul 
give order that a great stone should be rolled into the midst of them, and he 
made proclamation that they should kill their sacrifices upon it, and not feed 
upon the flesh with the blood, for that was not acceptable to God. And when all 
the people did as the king commanded them, Saul erected an altar there, and 
offered burnt-offerings upon it to God. 14 This was the first altar that Saul built. 

5. So when Saul was desirous of leading his men to the enemy's camp 
before it was day, in order to plunder it, and when the soldiers were not 
unwilling to follow him, but indeed showed great readiness to do as he 
commanded them, the king called Ahitub the high priest, and enjoined him to 
know of God whether he would grant them the favor and permission to go 
against the enemy's camp, in order to destroy those that were in it. And when 
the priest said that God did not give any answer, Saul replied, "And not without 
some cause does God refuse to answer what we inquire of him, while yet a little 
while ago he declared to us all that we desired beforehand, and even prevented 
us in his answer. To be sure there is some sin against him that is concealed from 
us, which is the occasion of his silence. Now I swear by him himself, that 
though he that hath committed this sin should prove to be my own son 
Jonathan, I will slay him, and by that means will appease the anger of God 
against us, and that in the very same manner as if I were to punish a stranger, 
and one not at all related to me, for the same offense." So when the multitude 
cried out to him so to do, he presently set all the rest on one side, and he and his 
son stood on the other side, and he sought to discover the offender by lot. Now 
the lot appeared to fall upon Jonathan himself. So when he was asked by his 
father what sin he had been guilty of, and what he was conscious of in the 
course of his life that might be esteemed instances of guilt or profaneness, his 
answer was this, "O father, I have done nothing more than that yesterday, 
without knowing of the curse and oath thou hadst denounced, while I was in 
pursuit of the enemy, I tasted of a honey-comb." But Saul sware that he would 
slay him, and prefer the observation of his oath before all the ties of birth and 
of nature. And Jonathan was not dismayed at this threatening of death, but, 
offering himself to it generously and undauntedly, he said, "Nor do I desire you, 
father, to spare me: death will be to me very acceptable, when it proceeds from 
thy piety, and after a glorious victory; for it is the greatest consolation to me 
that I leave the Hebrews victorious over the Philistines." Hereupon all the 



people were very sorry, and greatly afflicted for Jonathan; and they sware that 
they would not overlook Jonathan, and see him die, who was the author of their 
victory. By which means they snatched him out of the danger he was in from 
his father's curse, while they made their prayers to God also for the young man, 
that he would remit his sin. 

6. So Saul, having slain about sixty thousand of the enemy, returned home 
to his own city, and reigned happily: and he also fought against the neighboring 
nations, and subdued the Ammonites, and Moabites, and Philistines, and 
Edomites, and Amalekites, as also the king of Zobah. He had three male 
children, Jonathan, and Isui, and Melchishua; with Merab and Michal his 
daughters. He had also Abner, his uncle's son, for the captain of his host: that 
uncle's name was Ner. Now Ner, and Kish the father of Saul, were brothers. 
Saul had also a great many chariots and horsemen, and against whomsoever he 
made war he returned conqueror, and advanced the affairs of the Hebrews to a 
great degree of success and prosperity, and made them superior to other 
nations; and he made such of the young men as were remarkable for tallness 
and comeliness the guards of his body. 

CHAPTER 7 

SAUL'S WAR WITH THE AMALEKITES, AND CONQUEST OF THEM 

1. Now Samuel came unto Saul, and said to him, that he was sent by God to 
put him in mind that God had preferred him before all others, and ordained him 
king; that he therefore ought to be obedient to him, and to submit to his 
authority, as considering, that though he had the dominion over the other tribes, 
yet that God had the dominion over him, and over all things. That accordingly 
God said to him, that "because the Amalekites did the Hebrews a great deal of 
mischief while they were in the wilderness, and when, upon their coming out of 
Egypt, they were making their way to that country which is now their own, I 
enjoin thee to punish the Amalekites, by making war upon them; and when thou 
hast subdued them, to leave none of them alive, but to pursue them through 
every age, and to slay them, beginning with the women and the infants, and to 
require this as a punishment to be inflicted upon them for the mischief they did 
to our forefathers; to spare nothing, neither asses nor other beasts, nor to 
reserve any of them for your own advantage and possession, but to devote them 
universally to God, and, in obedience to the commands of Moses, to blot out 
the name of Amalek entirely" 15 

2. So Saul promised to do what he was commanded; and supposing that his 
obedience to God would be shown, not only in making war against the 



Amalekites, but more fully in the readiness and quickness of his proceedings, 
he made no delay, but immediately gathered together all his forces; and when 
he had numbered them in Gilgal, he found them to be about four hundred 
thousand of the Israelites, besides the tribe of Judah, for that tribe contained by 
itself thirty thousand. Accordingly, Saul made an irruption into the country of 
the Amalekites, and set many men in several parties in ambush at the river, that 
so he might not only do them a mischief by open fighting, but might fall upon 
them unexpectedly in the ways, and might thereby compass them round about, 
and kill them. And when he had joined battle with the enemy, he beat them; and 
pursuing them as they fled, he destroyed them all. And when that undertaking 
had succeeded, according as God had foretold, he set upon the cities of the 
Amalekites; he besieged them, and took them by force, partly by warlike 
machines, partly by mines dug under ground, and partly by building walls on 
the outsides. Some they starved out with famine, and some they gained by other 
methods; and after all, he betook himself to slay the women and the children, 
and thought he did not act therein either barbarously or inhumanly; first, 
because they were enemies whom he thus treated, and, in the next place, 
because it was done by the command of God, whom it was dangerous not to 
obey. He also took Agag, the enemies' king, captive, — the beauty and tallness 
of whose body he admired so much, that he thought him worthy of 
preservation. Yet was not this done however according to the will of God, but 
by giving way to human passions, and suffering himself to be moved with an 
unseasonable commiseration, in a point where it was not safe for him to indulge 
it; for God hated the nation of the Amalekites to such a degree, that he 
commanded Saul to have no pity on even those infants which we by nature 
chiefly compassionate; but Saul preserved their king and governor from the 
miseries which the Hebrews brought on the people, as if he preferred the fine 
appearance of the enemy to the memory of what God had sent him about. The 
multitude were also guilty, together with Saul; for they spared the herds and the 
flocks, and took them for a prey, when God had commanded they should not 
spare them. They also carried off with them the rest of their wealth and riches; 
but if there were any thing that was not worthy of regard, that they destroyed. 

3. But when Saul had conquered all these Amalekites that reached from 
Pelusium of Egypt to the Red Sea, he laid waste all the rest of the enemy's 
country: but for the nation of the Shechemites, he did not touch them, although 
they dwelt in the very middle of the country of Midian; for before the battle, 
Saul had sent to them, and charged them to depart thence, lest they should be 
partakers of the miseries of the Amalekites; for he had a just occasion for 
saving them, since they were of the kindred of Raguel, Moses's father-in-law. 

4. Hereupon Saul returned home with joy, for the glorious things he had 
done, and for the conquest of his enemies, as though he had not neglected any 



thing which the prophet had enjoined him to do when he was going to make 
war with the Amalekites, and as though he had exactly observed all that he 
ought to have done. But God was grieved that the king of the Amalekites was 
preserved alive, and that the multitude had seized on the cattle for a prey, 
because these things were done without his permission; for he thought it an 
intolerable thing that they should conquer and overcome their enemies by that 
power which he gave them, and then that he himself should be so grossly 
despised and disobeyed by them, that a mere man that was a king would not 
bear it. He therefore told Samuel the prophet, that he repented that he had made 
Saul king, while he did nothing that he had commanded him, but indulged his 
own inclinations. When Samuel heard that, he was in confusion, and began to 
beseech God all that night to be reconciled to Saul, and not to be angry with 
him; but he did not grant that forgiveness to Saul which the prophet asked for, 
as not deeming it a fit thing to grant forgiveness of [such] sins at his entreaties, 
since injuries do not otherwise grow so great as by the easy tempers of those 
that are injured; or while they hunt after the glory of being thought gentle and 
good-natured, before they are aware they produce other sins. As soon therefore 
as God had rejected the intercession of the prophet, and it plainly appeared he 
would not change his mind, at break of day Samuel came to Saul at Gilgal. 
When the king saw him, he ran to him, and embraced him, and said, "I return 
thanks to God, who hath given me the victory, for I have performed every thing 
that he hath commanded me." To which Samuel replied, "How is it then that I 
hear the bleating of the sheep and the lowing of the greater cattle in the camp?" 
Saul made answer, that the people had reserved them for sacrifices; but that, as 
to the nation of the Amalekites, it was entirely destroyed, as he had received it 
in command to see done, and that no one man was left; but that he had saved 
alive the king alone, and brought him to him, concerning whom, he said, they 
would advise together what should be done with him." But the prophet said, 
"God is not delighted with sacrifices, but with good and with righteous men, 
who are such as follow his will and his laws, and never think that any thing is 
well done by them but when they do it as God had commanded them; that he 
then looks upon himself as affronted, not when any one does not sacrifice, but 
when any one appears to be disobedient to him. But that from those who do not 
obey him, nor pay him that duty which is the alone true and acceptable 
worship, he will not kindly accept their oblations, be those they offer ever so 
many and so fat, and be the presents they make him ever so ornamental, nay, 
though they were made of gold and silver themselves, but he will reject them, 
and esteem them instances of wickedness, and not of piety. And that he is 
delighted with those that still bear in mind this one thing, and this only, how to 
do that, whatsoever it be, which God pronounces or commands for them to do, 
and to choose rather to die than to transgress any of those commands; nor does 



he require so much as a sacrifice from them. And when these do sacrifice, 
though it be a mean oblation, he better accepts of it as the honor of poverty, 
than such oblations as come from the richest men that offer them to him. 
Wherefore take notice, that thou art under the wrath of God, for thou hast 
despised and neglected what he commanded thee. How dost thou then suppose 
that he will respect a sacrifice out of such things as he hath doomed to 
destruction? unless perhaps thou dost imagine that it is almost all one to offer it 
in sacrifice to God as to destroy it. Do thou therefore expect that thy kingdom 
will be taken from thee, and that authority which thou hast abused by such 
insolent behavior, as to neglect that God who bestowed it upon thee." Then did 
Saul confess that he had acted unjustly, and did not deny that he had sinned, 
because he had transgressed the injunctions of the prophet; but he said that it 
was out of a dread and fear of the soldiers, that he did not prohibit and restrain 
them when they seized on the prey. "But forgive me," said he, "and be merciful 
to me, for I will be cautious how I offend for the time to come." He also 
entreated the prophet to go back with him, that he might offer his thank- 
offerings to God; but Samuel went home, because he saw that God would not 
be reconciled to him. 

5. But then Saul was so desirous to retain Samuel, that he took hold of his 
cloak, and because the vehemence of Samuel's departure made the motion to be 
violent, the cloak was rent. Upon which the prophet said, that after the same 
manner should the kingdom be rent from him, and that a good and a just man 
should take it; that God persevered in what he had decreed about him; that to be 
mutable and changeable in what is determined, is agreeable to human passions 
only, but is not agreeable to the Divine Power. Hereupon Saul said that he had 
been wicked, but that what was done could not be undone: he therefore desired 
him to honor him so far, that the multitude might see that he would accompany 
him in worshipping God. So Samuel granted him that favor, and went with him 
and worshipped God. Agag also, the king of the Amalekites, was brought to 
him; and when the king asked, how bitter death was? Samuel said, "As thou 
hast made many of the Hebrew mothers to lament and bewail the loss of their 
children, so shalt thou, by thy death, cause thy mother to lament thee also." 
Accordingly, he gave order to slay him immediately at Gilgal, and then went 
away to the city Ramah. 

CHAPTER 8 

HOW, UPON SAUL'S TRANSGRESSION OF THE PROPHET'S 
COMMANDS, SAMUEL ORDAINED ANOTHER PERSON TO BE KING 
PRIVATELY, WHOSE NAME WAS DAVID, AS GOD COMMANDED HIM 



1. Now Saul being sensible of the miserable condition he had brought himself 
into, and that he had made God to be his enemy, he went up to his royal palace 
at Gibeah, which name denotes a hill, and after that day he came no more into 
the presence of the prophet. And when Samuel mourned for him, God bid him 
leave off his concern for him, and to take the holy oil, and go to Bethlehem, to 
Jesse the son of Obed, and to anoint such of his sons as he should show him for 
their future king. But Samuel said, he was afraid lest Saul, when he came to 
know of it, should kill him, either by some private method or even openly. But 
upon God's suggesting to him a safe way of going thither, he came to the 
forementioned city; and when they all saluted him, and asked what was the 
occasion of his coming, he told them he came to sacrifice to God. When, 
therefore, he had gotten the sacrifice ready, he called Jesse and his sons to 
partake of those sacrifices; and when he saw his eldest son to be a tall and 
handsome man, he guessed by his comeliness that he was the person who was 
to be their future king. But he was mistaken in judging about God's providence; 
for when Samuel inquired of God whether he should anoint this youth, whom 
he so admired, and esteemed worthy of the kingdom, God said, "Men do not 
see as God seeth. Thou indeed hast respect to the fine appearance of this youth, 
and thence esteemest him worthy of the kingdom, while I propose the kingdom 
as a reward, not of the beauty of bodies, but of the virtue of souls, and I inquire 
after one that is perfectly comely in that respect; I mean one who is beautiful in 
piety, and righteousness, and fortitude, and obedience, for in them consists the 
comeliness of the soul." When God had said this, Samuel bade Jesse to show 
him all his sons. So he made five others of his sons to come to him; of all of 
whom Eliab was the eldest, Aminadab the second, Shammall the third, 
Nathaniel the fourth, Rael the fifth, and Asam the sixth. And when the prophet 
saw that these were no way inferior to the eldest in their countenances, he 
inquired of God which of them it was whom he chose for their king. And when 
God said it was none of them, he asked Jesse whether he had not some other 
sons besides these; and when he said that he had one more, named David, but 
that he was a shepherd, and took care of the flocks, Samuel bade them call him 
immediately, for that till he was come they could not possibly sit down to the 
feast. Now, as soon as his father had sent for David, and he was come, he 
appeared to be of a yellow complexion, of a sharp sight, and a comely person in 
other respects also. This is he, said Samuel privately to himself, whom it 
pleases God to make our king. So he sat down to the feast, and placed the youth 
under him, and Jesse also, with his other sons; after which he took oil in the 
presence of David, and anointed him, and whispered him in the ear, and 
acquainted him that God chose him to be their king; and exhorted him to be 
righteous, and obedient to his commands, for that by this means his kingdom 



would continue for a long time, and that his house should be of great splendor, 
and celebrated in the world; that he should overthrow the Philistines; and that 
against what nations soever he should make war, he should be the conqueror, 
and survive the fight; and that while he lived he should enjoy a glorious name, 
and leave such a name to his posterity also. 

2. So Samuel, when he had given him these admonitions, went away. But 
the Divine Power departed from Saul, and removed to David; who, upon this 
removal of the Divine Spirit to him, began to prophesy. But as for Saul, some 
strange and demoniacal disorders came upon him, and brought upon him such 
suffocations as were ready to choke him; for which the physicians could find no 
other remedy but this, that if any person could charm those passions by singing, 
and playing upon the harp, they advised them to inquire for such a one, and to 
observe when these demons came upon him and disturbed him, and to take care 
that such a person might stand over him, and play upon the harp, and recite 
hymns to him. 16 Accordingly Saul did not delay, but commanded them to seek 
out such a man. And when a certain stander-by said that he had seen in the city 
of Bethlehem a son of Jesse, who was yet no more than a child in age, but 
comely and beautiful, and in other respects one that was deserving of great 
regard, who was skilful in playing on the harp, and in singing of hymns, [and 
an excellent soldier in war,] he sent to Jesse, and desired him to take David 
away from the flocks, and send him to him, for he had a mind to see him, as 
having heard an advantageous character of his comeliness and his valor. So 
Jesse sent his son, and gave him presents to carry to Saul. And when he was 
come, Saul was pleased with him, and made him his armor-bearer, and had him 
in very great esteem; for he charmed his passion, and was the only physician 
against the trouble he had from the demons, whensoever it was that it came 
upon him, and this by reciting of hymns, and playing upon the harp, and 
bringing Saul to his right mind again. However, he sent to Jesse, the father of 
the child, and desired him to permit David to stay with him, for that he was 
delighted with his sight and company; which stay, that he might not contradict 
Saul, he granted. 

CHAPTER 9 

HOW THE PHILISTINES MADE ANOTHER EXPEDITION AGAINST THE 
HEBREWS UNDER THE REIGN OF SAUL; AND HOW THEY WERE 
OVERCOME BY DAVID'S SLAYING GOLIATH IN SINGLE COMBAT 



1. Now the Philistines gathered themselves together again no very long time 
afterward; and having gotten together a great army, they made war against the 



Israelites; and having seized a place between Shochoh and Azekah, they there 
pitched their camp. Saul also drew out his army to oppose them; and by 
pitching his own camp on a certain hill, he forced the Philistines to leave their 
former camp, and to encamp themselves upon such another hill, over-against 
that on which Saul's army lay, so that a valley, which was between the two hills 
on which they lay, divided their camps asunder. Now there came down a man 
out of the camp of the Philistines, whose name was Goliath, of the city of Gath, 
a man of vast bulk, for he was of four cubits and a span in tallness, and had 
about him weapons suitable to the largeness of his body, for he had a 
breastplate on that weighed five thousand shekels: he had also a helmet and 
greaves of brass, as large as you would naturally suppose might cover the limbs 
of so vast a body. His spear was also such as was not carried like a light thing 
in his right hand, but he carried it as lying on his shoulders. He had also a lance 
of six hundred shekels; and many followed him to carry his armor. Wherefore 
this Goliath stood between the two armies, as they were in battle array, and sent 
out aloud voice, and said to Saul and the Hebrews, "I will free you from 
fighting and from dangers; for what necessity is there that your army should 
fall and be afflicted? Give me a man of you that will fight with me, and he that 
conquers shall have the reward of the conqueror and determine the war; for 
these shall serve those others to whom the conqueror shall belong; and certainly 
it is much better, and more prudent, to gain what you desire by the hazard of 
one man than of all." When he had said this, he retired to his own camp; but the 
next day he came again, and used the same words, and did not leave off for 
forty days together, to challenge the enemy in the same words, till Saul and his 
army were therewith terrified, while they put themselves in array as if they 
would fight, but did not come to a close battle. 

2. Now while this war between the Hebrews and the Philistines was going 
on, Saul sent away David to his father Jesse, and contented himself with those 
three sons of his whom he had sent to his assistance, and to be partners in the 
dangers of the war: and at first David returned to feed his sheep and his flocks; 
but after no long time he came to the camp of the Hebrews, as sent by his 
father, to carry provisions to his brethren, and to know what they were doing. 
While Goliath came again, and challenged them, and reproached them, that 
they had no man of valor among them that durst come down to fight him; and 
as David was talking with his brethren about the business for which his father 
had sent him, he heard the Philistine reproaching and abusing the army, and had 
indignation at it, and said to his brethren, "I am ready to fight a single combat 
with this adversary." Whereupon Eliab, his eldest brother, reproved him, and 
said that he spoke too rashly and improperly for one of his age, and bid him go 
to his flocks, and to his father. So he was abashed at his brother's words, and 
went away, but still he spake to some of the soldiers that he was willing to fight 



with him that challenged them. And when they had informed Saul what was the 
resolution of the young man, the king sent for him to come to him: and when 
the king asked what he had to say, he replied, "O king, be not cast down, nor 
afraid, for I will depress the insolence of this adversary, and will go down and 
fight with him, and will bring him under me, as tall and as great as he is, till he 
shall be sufficiently laughed at, and thy army shall get great glory, when he 
shall be slain by one that is not yet of man's estate, neither fit for fighting, nor 
capable of being intrusted with the marshalling an army, or ordering a battle, 
but by one that looks like a child, and is really no elder in age than a child." 

3. Now Saul wondered at the boldness and alacrity of David, but durst not 
presume on his ability, by reason of his age; but said he must on that account be 
too weak to fight with one that was skilled in the art of war. "I undertake this 
enterprise," said David, "in dependence on God's being with me, for I have had 
experience already of his assistance; for I once pursued after and caught a lion 
that assaulted my flocks, and took away a lamb from them; and I snatched the 
lamb out of the wild beast's mouth, and when he leaped upon me with violence, 
I took him by the tail, and dashed him against the ground. In the same manner 
did I avenge myself on a bear also; and let this adversary of ours be esteemed 
like one of these wild beasts, since he has a long while reproached our army, 
and blasphemed our God, who yet will reduce him under my power." 

4. However, Saul prayed that the end might be, by God's assistance, not 
disagreeable to the alacrity and boldness of the child; and said, "Go thy way to 
the fight." So he put about him his breastplate, and girded on his sword, and 
fitted the helmet to his head, and sent him away. But David was burdened with 
his armor, for he had not been exercised to it, nor had he learned to walk with 
it; so he said, "Let this armor be thine, O king, who art able to bear it; but give 
me leave to fight as thy servant, and as I myself desire." Accordingly he laid by 
the armor, and taking his staff with him, and putting five stones out of the 
brook into a shepherd's bag, and having a sling in his right hand, he went 
towards Goliath. But the adversary seeing him come in such a manner, 
disdained him, and jested upon him, as if he had not such weapons with him as 
are usual when one man fights against another, but such as are used in driving 
away and avoiding of dogs; and said, "Dost thou take me not for a man, but a 
dog?" To which he replied, "No, not for a dog, but for a creature worse than a 
dog." This provoked Goliath to anger, who thereupon cursed him by the name 
of God, and threatened to give his flesh to the beasts of the earth, and to the 
fowls of the air, to be torn in pieces by them. To whom David answered, "Thou 
comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a breastplate; but I have 
God for my armor in coming against thee, who will destroy thee and all thy 
army by my hands for I will this day cut off thy head, and cast the other parts of 
thy body to the dogs, and all men shall learn that God is the protector of the 



Hebrews, and that our armor and our strength is in his providence; and that 
without God's assistance, all other warlike preparations and power are useless." 
So the Philistine being retarded by the weight of his armor, when he attempted 
to meet David in haste, came on but slowly, as despising him, and depending 
upon it that he should slay him, who was both unarmed and a child also, 
without any trouble at all. 

5. But the youth met his antagonist, being accompanied with an invisible 
assistant, who was no other than God himself. And taking one of the stones that 
he had out of the brook, and had put into his shepherd's bag, and fitting it to his 
sling, he slang it against the Philistine. This stone fell upon his forehead, and 
sank into his brain, insomuch that Goliath was stunned, and fell upon his face. 
So David ran, and stood upon his adversary as he lay down, and cut off his 
head with his own sword; for he had no sword himself. And upon the fall of 
Goliath the Philistines were beaten, and fled; for when they saw their champion 
prostrate on the ground, they were afraid of the entire issue of their affairs, and 
resolved not to stay any longer, but committed themselves to an ignominious 
and indecent flight, and thereby endeavored to save themselves from the 
dangers they were in. But Saul and the entire army of the Hebrews made a 
shout, and rushed upon them, and slew a great number of them, and pursued the 
rest to the borders of Garb, and to the gates of Ekron; so that there were slain of 
the Philistines thirty thousand, and twice as many wounded. But Saul returned 
to their camp, and pulled their fortification to pieces, and burnt it; but David 
carried the head of Goliath into his own tent, but dedicated his sword to God [at 
the tabernacle]. 

CHAPTER 10 

SAUL ENVIES DAVID FOR HIS GLORIOUS SUCCESS, AND TAKES AN 
OCCASION OF ENTRAPPING HIM, FROM THE PROMISE HE MADE 
HIM OF GIVING HIM HIS DAUGHTER IN MARRIAGE; BUT THIS UPON 
CONDITION OF HIS BRINGING HIM SIX HUNDRED HEADS OF THE 
PHILISTINES 



1. Now the women were an occasion of Saul's envy and hatred to David; for 
they came to meet their victorious army with cymbals, and drums, and all 
demonstrations of joy, and sang thus: the wives said, that "Saul had slain his 
many thousands of the Philistines." The virgins replied, that "David had slain 
his ten thousands." Now, when the king heard them singing thus, and that he 
had himself the smallest share in their commendations, and the greater number, 
the ten thousands, were ascribed to the young man; and when he considered 



with himself that there was nothing more wanting to David, after such a mighty 
applause, but the kingdom; he began to be afraid and suspicious of David. 
Accordingly he removed him from the station he was in before, for he was his 
armor-bearer, which, out of fear, seemed to him much too near a station for 
him; and so he made him captain over a thousand, and bestowed on him a post 
better indeed in itself, but, as he thought, more for his own security; for he had 
a mind to send him against the enemy, and into battles, as hoping he would be 
slain in such dangerous conflicts. 

2. But David had God going along with him whithersoever he went, and 
accordingly he greatly prospered in his undertakings, and it was visible that he 
had mighty success, insomuch that Saul's daughter, who was still a virgin, fell 
in love with him; and her affection so far prevailed over her, that it could not be 
concealed, and her father became acquainted with it. Now Saul heard this 
gladly, as intending to make use of it for a snare against David, and he hoped 
that it would prove the cause of destruction and of hazard to him; so he told 
those that informed him of his daughter's affection, that he would willingly give 
David the virgin in marriage, and said, "I engage myself to marry my daughter 
to him if he will bring me six hundred heads of my enemies, 17 supposing that 
when a reward so ample was proposed to him, and when he should aim to get 
him great glory, by undertaking a thing so dangerous and incredible, he would 
immediately set about it, and so perish by the Philistines; and my designs about 
him will succeed finely to my mind, for I shall be freed from him, and get him 
slain, not by myself, but by another man." So he gave order to his servants to 
try how David would relish this proposal of marrying the damsel. Accordingly, 
they began to speak thus to him: that king Saul loved him, as well as did all the 
people, and that he was desirous of his affinity by the marriage of this damsel. 
To which he gave this answer: — "Seemeth it to you a light thing to be made the 
king's son-in-law? It does not seem so to me, especially when I am one of a 
family that is low, and without any glory or honor." Now when Saul was 
informed by his servants what answer David had made, he said, — "Tell him that 
I do not want any money nor dowry from him, which would be rather to set my 
daughter to sale than to give her in marriage; but I desire only such a son-in- 
law as hath in him fortitude, and all other kinds of virtue," of which he saw 
David was possessed, and that his desire was to receive of him, on account of 
his marrying his daughter, neither gold nor silver, nor that he should bring such 
wealth out of his father's house, but only some revenge on the Philistines, and 
indeed six hundred of their heads, than which a more desirable or a more 
glorious present could not be brought him, and that he had much rather obtain 
this, than any of the accustomed dowries for his daughter, viz. that she should 
be married to a man of that character, and to one who had a testimony as having 
conquered his enemies. 



3. When these words of Saul were brought to David, he was pleased with 
them, and supposed that Saul was really desirous of this affinity with him; so 
that without bearing to deliberate any longer, or casting about in his mind 
whether what was proposed was possible, or was difficult or not, he and his 
companions immediately set upon the enemy, and went about doing what was 
proposed as the condition of the marriage. Accordingly, because it was God 
who made all things easy and possible to David, he slew many [of the 
Philistines], and cut off the heads of six hundred of them, and came to the king, 
and by showing him these heads of the Philistines, required that he might have 
his daughter in marriage. Accordingly, Saul having no way of getting off his 
engagements, as thinking it a base thing either to seem a liar when he promised 
him this marriage, or to appear to have acted treacherously by him, in putting 
him upon what was in a manner impossible, in order to have him slain, he gave 
him his daughter in marriage: her name was Michal. 

CHAPTER 11 

HOW DAVID, UPON SAUL'S LAYING SNARES FOR HIM, DID YET 
ESCAPE THE DANGERS HE WAS IN BY THE AFFECTION AND CARE 
OF JONATHAN AND THE CONTRIVANCES OF HIS WIFE MICHAL: 
AND HOW HE CAME TO SAMUEL THE PROPHET 



1. However, Saul was not disposed to persevere long in the state wherein he 
was, for when he saw that David was in great esteem, both with God and with 
the multitude, he was afraid; and being not able to conceal his fear as 
concerning great things, his kingdom and his life, to be deprived of either of 
which was a very great calamity, he resolved to have David slain, and 
commanded his son Jonathan and his most faithful servants to kill him: but 
Jonathan wondered at his father's change with relation to David, that it should 
be made to so great a degree, from showing him no small good- will, to contrive 
how to have him killed. Now, because he loved the young man, and reverenced 
him for his virtue, he informed him of the secret charge his father had given, 
and what his intentions were concerning him. However, he advised him to take 
care and be absent the next day, for that he would salute his father, and, if he 
met with a favorable opportunity, he would discourse with him about him, and 
learn the cause of his disgust, and show how little ground there was for it, and 
that for it he ought not to kill a man that had done so many good things to the 
multitude, and had been a benefactor to himself, on account of which he ought 
in reason to obtain pardon, had he been guilty of the greatest crimes; and "I will 
then inform thee of my father's resolution." Accordingly David complied with 



such an advantageous advice, and kept himself then out of the king's sight. 

2. On the next day Jonathan came to Saul, as soon as he saw him in a 
cheerful and joyful disposition, and began to introduce a discourse about 
David: "What unjust action, O father, either little or great, hast thou found so 
exceptionable in David, as to induce thee to order us to slay a man who hath 
been of great advantage to thy own preservation, and of still greater to the 
punishment of the Philistines? A man who hath delivered the people of the 
Hebrews from reproach and derision, which they underwent for forty days 
together, when he alone had courage enough to sustain the challenge of the 
adversary, and after that brought as many heads of our enemies as he was 
appointed to bring, and had, as a reward for the same, my sister in marriage; 
insomuch that his death would be very sorrowful to us, not only on account of 
his virtue, but on account of the nearness of our relation; for thy daughter must 
be injured at the same time that he is slain, and must be obliged to experience 
widowhood, before she can come to enjoy any advantage from their mutual 
conversation. Consider these things, and change your mind to a more merciful 
temper, and do no mischief to a man, who, in the first place, hath done us the 
greatest kindness of preserving thee; for when an evil spirit and demons had 
seized upon thee, he cast them out, and procured rest to thy soul from their 
incursions: and, in the second place, hath avenged us of our enemies; for it is a 
base thing to forget such benefits." So Saul was pacified with these words, and 
sware to his son that he would do David no harm, for a righteous discourse 
proved too hard for the king's anger and fear. So Jonathan sent for David, and 
brought him good news from his father, that he was to be preserved. He also 
brought him to his father; and David continued with the king as formerly. 

3. About this time it was that, upon the Philistines making a new expedition 
against the Hebrews, Saul sent David with an army to fight with them; and 
joining battle with them he slew many of them, and after his victory he returned 
to the king. But his reception by Saul was not as he expected upon such 
success, for he was grieved at his prosperity, because he thought he would be 
more dangerous to him by having acted so gloriously: but when the demoniacal 
spirit came upon him, and put him into disorder, and disturbed him, he called 
for David into his bed-chamber wherein he lay, and having a spear in his hand, 
he ordered him to charm him with playing on his harp, and with singing hymns; 
which when David did at his command, he with great force threw the spear at 
him; but David was aware of it before it came, and avoided it, and fled to his 
own house, and abode there all that day. 

4. But at night the king sent officers, and commanded that he should be 
watched till the morning, lest he should get quite away, that he might come into 
the judgment-hall, and so might be delivered up, and condemned and slain. But 
when Michal, David's wife, the king's daughter, understood what her father 



designed, she came to her husband, as having small hopes of his deliverance, 
and as greatly concerned about her own life also, for she could not bear to live 
in case she were deprived of him; and she said, "Let not the sun find thee here 
when it rises, for if it do, that will be the last time it will see thee: fly away then 
while the night may afford thee opportunity, and may God lengthen it for thy 
sake; for know this, that if my father find thee, thou art a dead man." So she let 
him down by a cord out of the window, and saved him: and after she had done 
so, she fitted up a bed for him as if he were sick, and put under the bed-clothes 
a goat's liver; 18 and when her father, as soon as it was day, sent to seize David, 
she said to those that were there, that he had not been well that night, and 
showed them the bed covered, and made them believe, by the leaping of the 
liver, which caused the bed-clothes to move also, that David breathed like one 
that was asthmatic. So when those that were sent told Saul that David had not 
been well in the night he ordered him to be brought in that condition, for he 
intended to kill him. Now when they came and uncovered the bed, and found 
out the woman's contrivance, they told it to the king; and when her father 
complained of her that she had saved his enemy, and had put a trick upon 
himself, she invented this plausible defence for herself, and said, that when he 
had threatened to kill her, she lent him her assistance for his preservation, out 
of fear; for which her assistance she ought to be forgiven, because it was not 
done of her own free choice, but out of necessity: "For," said she, "I do not 
suppose that thou wast so zealous to kill thy enemy, as thou wast that I should 
be saved." Accordingly Saul forgave the damsel; but David, when he had 
escaped this danger, came to the prophet Samuel to Ramah, and told him what 
snares the king had laid for him, and how he was very near to death by Saul's 
throwing a spear at him, although he had been no way guilty with relation to 
him, nor had he been cowardly in his battles with his enemies, but had 
succeeded well in them all, by God's assistance; which thing was indeed the 
cause of Saul's hatred to David. 

5. When the prophet was made acquainted with the unjust proceedings of 
the king, he left the city Ramah, and took David with him, to a certain place 
called Naioth, and there he abode with him. But when it was told Saul that 
David was with the prophet, he sent soldiers to him, and ordered them to take 
him, and bring him to him: and when they came to Samuel, and found there a 
congregation of prophets, they became partakers of the Divine Spirit, and 
began to prophesy; which when Saul heard of, he sent others to David, who 
prophesying in like manner as did the first, he again sent others; which third 
sort prophesying also, at last he was angry, and went thither in great haste 
himself; and when he was just by the place, Samuel, before he saw him, made 
him prophesy also. And when Saul came to him, he was disordered in mind, 19 
and under the vehement agitation of a spirit; and, putting off his garments, 20 he 



fell down, and lay on the ground all that day and night, in the presence of 
Samuel and David. 

6. And David went thence, and came to Jonathan, the son of Saul, and 
lamented to him what snares were laid for him by his father; and said, that 
though he had been guilty of no evil, nor had offended against him, yet he was 
very zealous to get him killed. Hereupon Jonathan exhorted him not to give 
credit to such his own suspicions, nor to the calumnies of those that raised 
those reports, if there were any that did so, but to depend on him, and take 
courage; for that his father had no such intention, since he would have 
acquainted him with that matter, and have taken his advice, had it been so, as 
he used to consult with him in common when he acted in other affairs. But 
David sware to him that so it was; and he desired him rather to believe him, and 
to provide for his safety, than to despise what he, with great sincerity, told him: 
that he would believe what he said, when he should either see him killed 
himself, or learn it upon inquiry from others: and that the reason why his father 
did not tell him of these things, was this, that he knew of the friendship and 
affection that he bore towards him. 

7. Hereupon, when Jonathan found that this intention of Saul was so well 
attested, he asked him what he would have him do for him. To which David 
replied, "I am sensible that thou art willing to gratify me in every thing, and 
procure me what I desire. Now tomorrow is the new moon, and I was 
accustomed to sit down then with the king at supper: now, if it seem good to 
thee, I will go out of the city, and conceal myself privately there; and if Saul 
inquire why I am absent, tell him that I am gone to my own city Bethlehem, to 
keep a festival with my own tribe; and add this also, that thou gavest me leave 
so to do. And if he say, as is usually said in the case of friends that are gone 
abroad, it is well that he went, then assure thyself that no latent mischief or 
enmity may be feared at his hand; but if he answer otherwise, that will be a sure 
sign that he hath some designs against me. Accordingly thou shalt inform me of 
thy father's inclinations; and that out of pity to my case and out of thy 
friendship for me, as instances of which friendship thou hast vouchsafed to 
accept of the assurances of my love to thee, and to give the like assurances to 
me, that is, those of a master to his servant; but if thou discoverest any 
wickedness in me, do thou prevent thy father, and kill me thyself." 

8. But Jonathan heard these last words with indignation, and promised to do 
what he desired of him, and to inform him if his father's answers implied any 
thing of a melancholy nature, and any enmity against him. And that he might 
the more firmly depend upon him, he took him out into the open field, into the 
pure air, and sware that he would neglect nothing that might tend to the 
preservation of David; and he said, "I appeal to that God, who, as thou seest, is 
diffused every where, and knoweth this intention of mine, before I explain it in 



words, as the witness of this my covenant with thee, that I will not leave off to 
make frequent trims of the purpose of my father till I learn whether there be 
any lurking distemper in the most secret parts of his soul; and when I have 
learnt it, I will not conceal it from thee, but will discover it to thee, whether he 
be gently or peevishly disposed; for this God himself knows, that I pray he may 
always be with thee, for he is with thee now, and will not forsake thee, and will 
make thee superior to thine enemies, whether my father be one of them, or 
whether I myself be such. Do thou only remember what we now do; and if it 
fall out that I die, preserve my children alive, and requite what kindness thou 
hast now received to them." When he had thus sworn, he dismissed David, 
bidding him go to a certain place of that plain wherein he used to perform his 
exercises; for that, as soon as he knew the mind of his father, he would come 
thither to him, with one servant only; "and if," says he, "I shoot three darts at 
the mark, and then bid my servant to carry these three darts away, for they are 
before him, know thou that there is no mischief to be feared from my father; 
but if thou hearest me say the contrary, expect the contrary from the king. 
However, thou shalt gain security by my means, and shalt by no means suffer 
any harm; but see thou dost not forget what I have desired of thee in the time of 
thy prosperity, and be serviceable to my children." Now David, when he had 
received these assurances from Jonathan, went his way to the place appointed. 

9. But on the next day, which was the new moon, the king, when he had 
purified himself, as the custom was, came to supper; and when there sat by him 
his son Jonathan on his right hand, and Abner, the captain of his host, on the 
other hand, he saw David's seat was empty, but said nothing, supposing that he 
had not purified himself since he had accompanied with his wife, and so could 
not be present; but when he saw that he was not there the second day of the 
month neither, he inquired of his son Jonathan why the son of Jesse did not 
come to the supper and the feast, neither the day before nor that day. So 
Jonathan said that he was gone, according to the agreement between them, to 
his own city, where his tribe kept a festival, and that by his permission: that he 
also invited him to come to their sacrifice; "and," says Jonathan, "if thou wilt 
give me leave, I will go thither, for thou knowest the good-will that I bear him." 
And then it was that Jonathan understood his father's hatred to David, and 
plainly saw his entire disposition; for Saul could not restrain his anger, but 
reproached Jonathan, and called him the son of a runagate, and an enemy; and 
said he was a partner with David, and his assistant, and that by his behavior he 
showed he had no regard to himself, or to his mother, and would not be 
persuaded of this — that while David is alive, their kingdom was not secure to 
them; yet did he bid him send for him, that he might be punished. And when 
Jonathan said, in answer, "What hath he done that thou wilt punish him?" Saul 
no longer contented himself to express his anger in bare words, but snatched up 



his spear, and leaped upon him, and was desirous to kill him. He did not indeed 
do what he intended, because he was hindered by his friends; but it appeared 
plainly to his son that he hated David, and greatly desired to despatch him, 
insomuch that he had almost slain his son with his own hands on his account. 
10. And then it was that the king's son rose hastily from supper; and being 
unable to admit any thing into his mouth for grief, he wept all night, both 
because he had himself been near destruction, and because the death of David 
was determined: but as soon as it was day, he went out into the plain that was 
before the city, as going to perform his exercises, but in reality to inform his 
friend what disposition his father was in towards him, as he had agreed with 
him to do; and when Jonathan had done what had been thus agreed, he 
dismissed his servant that followed him, to return to the city; but he himself 
went into the desert, and came into his presence, and communed with him. So 
David appeared and fell at Jonathan's feet, and bowed down to him, and called 
him the preserver of his soul; but he lifted him up from the earth, and they 
mutually embraced one another, and made a long greeting, and that not without 
tears. They also lamented their age, and that familiarity which envy would 
deprive them of, and that separation which must now be expected, which 
seemed to them no better than death itself. So recollecting themselves at length 
from their lamentation, and exhorting one another to be mindful of the oaths 
they had sworn to each other, they parted asunder. 

CHAPTER 12 

HOW DAVID FLED TO AHIMELECH AND AFTERWARDS TO THE 
KINGS OF THE PHILISTINES AND OF THE MOABITES, AND HOW 
SAUL SLEW AHIMELECH AND HIS FAMILY 



1. But David fled from the king, and that death he was in danger of by him, 
and came to the city Nob, to Ahimelech the priest, who, when he saw him 
coming all alone, and neither a friend nor a servant with him, he wondered at it, 
and desired to learn of him the cause why there was nobody with him. To 
which David answered, that the king had commanded him to do a certain thing 
that was to be kept secret, to which, if he had a mind to know so much, he had 
no occasion for any one to accompany him; "however, I have ordered my 
servants to meet me at such and such a place." So he desired him to let him 
have somewhat to eat; and that in case he would supply him, be would act the 
part of a friend, and be assisting to the business he was now about: and when he 
had obtained what he desired, he also asked him whether he had any weapons 
with him, either sword or spear. Now there was at Nob a servant of Saul, by 



birth a Syrian, whose name was Doeg, one that kept the king's mules. The high 
priest said that he had no such weapons; but, he added, "Here is the sword of 
Goliath, which, when thou hadst slain the Philistine, thou didst dedicate to 
God." 

2. When David had received the sword, he fled out of the country of the 
Hebrews into that of the Philistines, over which Achish reigned; and when the 
king's servants knew him, and he was made known to the king himself, the 
servants informing him that he was that David who had killed many ten 
thousands of the Philistines, David was afraid lest the king should put him to 
death, and that he should experience that danger from him which he had 
escaped from Saul; so he pretended to be distracted and mad, so that his spittle 
ran out of his mouth; and he did other the like actions before the king of Gath, 
which might make him believe that they proceeded from such a distemper. 
Accordingly the king was very angry at his servants that they had brought him 
a madman, and he gave orders that they should eject David immediately [out of 
the city]. 

3. So when David had escaped in this manner out of Gath, he came to the 
tribe of Judah, and abode in a cave by the city of Adullam. Then it was that he 
sent to his brethren, and informed them where he was, who then came to him 
with all their kindred, and as many others as were either in want or in fear of 
king Saul, came and made a body together, and told him they were ready to 
obey his orders; they were in all about four hundred. Whereupon he took 
courage, now such a force and assistance was come to him; so he removed 
thence and came to the king of the Moabites, and desired him to entertain his 
parents in his country, while the issue of his affairs were in such an uncertain 
condition. The king granted him this favor, and paid great respect to David's 
parents all the time they were with him. 

4. As for himself, upon the prophet's commanding him to leave the desert, 
and to go into the portion of the tribe of Judah, and abide there, he complied 
therewith; and coming to the city Hareth, which was in that tribe, he remained 
there. Now when Saul heard that David had been seen with a multitude about 
him, he fell into no small disturbance and trouble; but as he knew that David 
was a bold and courageous man, he suspected that somewhat extraordinary 
would appear from him, and that openly also, which would make him weep and 
put him into distress; so he called together to him his friends, and his 
commanders, and the tribe from which he was himself derived, to the hill 
where his palace was; and sitting upon a place called Aroura, his courtiers that 
were in dignities, and the guards of his body, being with him, he spake thus to 
them: — "You that are men of my own tribe, I conclude that you remember the 
benefits that I have bestowed upon you, and that I have made some of you 
owners of land, and made you commanders, and bestowed posts of honor upon 



you, and set some of you over the common people, and others over the soldiers; 
I ask you, therefore, whether you expect greater and more donations from the 
son of Jesse? for I know that you are all inclinable to him; (even my own son 
Jonathan himself is of that opinion, and persuades you to be of the same); for I 
am not unacquainted with the oaths and the covenants that are between him and 
David, and that Jonathan is a counselor and an assistant to those that conspire 
against me, and none of you are concerned about these things, but you keep 
silence and watch, to see what will be the upshot of these things." When the 
king had made this speech, not one of the rest of those that were present made 
any answer; but Doeg the Syrian, who fed his mules, said, that he saw David 
when he came to the city Nob to Ahimelech the high priest, and that he learned 
future events by his prophesying; that he received food from him, and the 
sword of Goliath, and was conducted by him with security to such as he desired 
to go to. 

5. Saul, therefore, sent for the high priest, and for all his kindred; and said 
to them, "What terrible or ungrateful thing hast thou suffered from me, that 
thou hast received the son of Jesse, and hast bestowed on him both food and 
weapons, when he was contriving to get the kingdom? And further, why didst 
thou deliver oracles to him concerning futurities? For thou couldst not be 
unacquainted that he was fled away from me, and that he hated my family." But 
the high priest did not betake himself to deny what he had done, but confessed 
boldly that he had supplied him with these things, not to gratify David, but Saul 
himself: and he said, "I did not know that he was thy adversary, but a servant of 
thine, who was very faithful to thee, and a captain over a thousand of thy 
soldiers, and, what is more than these, thy son-in-law, and kinsman. Men do not 
choose to confer such favors on their adversaries, but on those who are 
esteemed to bear the highest good- will and respect to them. Nor is this the first 
time that I prophesied for him, but I have done it often, and at other times as 
well as now. And when he told me that he was sent by thee in great haste to do 
somewhat, if I had furnished him with nothing that he desired I should have 
thought that it was rather in contradiction to thee than to him; wherefore do not 
thou entertain any ill opinion of me, nor do thou have a suspicion of what I then 
thought an act of humanity, from what is now told thee of David's attempts 
against thee, for I did then to him as to thy friend and son-in-law, and captain of 
a thousand, and not as to thine adversary." 

6. When the high priest had spoken thus, he did not persuade Saul, his fear 
was so prevalent, that he could not give credit to an apology that was very just. 
So he commanded his armed men that stood about him to kill him, and all his 
kindred; but as they durst not touch the high priest, but were more afraid of 
disobeying God than the king, he ordered Doeg the Syrian to kill them. 
Accordingly, he took to his assistance such wicked men as were like himself, 



and slew Ahimelech and all his family, who were in all three hundred and 
eighty-five. Saul also sent to Nob, 21 the city of the priests, and slew all that 
were there, without sparing either women or children, or any other age, and 
burnt it; only there was one son of Ahimelech, whose name was Abiathar, who 
escaped. However, these things came to pass as God had foretold to Eli the 
high priest, when he said that his posterity should be destroyed, on account of 
the transgression of his two sons. 

7. 22 Now this king Saul, by perpetrating so barbarous a crime, and 
murdering the whole family of the high-priestly dignity, by having no pity of 
the infants, nor reverence for the aged, and by overthrowing the city which God 
had chosen for the property, and for the support of the priests and prophets 
which were there, and had ordained as the only city allotted for the education of 
such men, gives all to understand and consider the disposition of men, that 
while they are private persons, and in a low condition, because it is not in their 
power to indulge nature, nor to venture upon what they wish for, they are 
equitable and moderate, and pursue nothing but what is just, and bend their 
whole minds and labors that way; then it is that they have this belief about God, 
that he is present to all the actions of their lives, and that he does not only see 
the actions that are done, but clearly knows those their thoughts also, whence 
those actions do arise. But when once they are advanced into power and 
authority, then they put off all such notions, and, as if they were no other than 
actors upon a theatre, they lay aside their disguised parts and manners, and take 
up boldness, insolence, and a contempt of both human and Divine laws, and 
this at a time when they especially stand in need of piety and righteousness, 
because they are then most of all exposed to envy, and all they think, and all 
they say, are in the view of all men; then it is that they become so insolent in 
their actions, as though God saw them no longer, or were afraid of them 
because of their power: and whatsoever it is that they either are afraid of by the 
rumors they hear, or they hate by inclination, or they love without reason, these 
seem to them to be authentic, and firm, and true, and pleasing both to men and 
to God; but as to what will come hereafter, they have not the least regard to it. 
They raise those to honor indeed who have been at a great deal of pains for 
them, and after that honor they envy them; and when they have brought them 
into high dignity, they do not only deprive them of what they had obtained, but 
also, on that very account, of their lives also, and that on wicked accusations, 
and such as on account of their extravagant nature, are incredible. They also 
punish men for their actions, not such as deserve condemnation, but from 
calumnies and accusations without examination; and this extends not only to 
such as deserve to be punished, but to as many as they are able to kill. This 
reflection is openly confirmed to us from the example of Saul, the son of Kish, 
who was the first king who reigned after our aristocracy and government under 



the judges were over; and that by his slaughter of three hundred priests and 
prophets, on occasion of his suspicion about Ahimelech, and by the additional 
wickedness of the overthrow of their city, and this is as he were endeavoring in 
some sort to render the temple [tabernacle] destitute both of priests and 
prophets, which endeavor he showed by slaying so many of them, and not 
suffering the very city belonging to them to remain, that so others might 
succeed them. 

8. But Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech, who alone could be saved out of the 
family of priests slain by Saul, fled to David, and informed him of the calamity 
that had befallen their family, and of the slaughter of his father; who hereupon 
said, He was not unapprised of what would follow with relation to them when 
he saw Doeg there; for he had then a suspicion that the high priest would be 
falsely accused by him to the king, and he blamed himself as having been the 
cause of this misfortune. But he desired him to stay there, and abide with him, 
as in a place where he might be better concealed than any where else. 

CHAPTER 13 

HOW DAVID, WHEN HE HAD TWICE THE OPPORTUNITY OF KILLING 
SAUL DID NOT KILL HIM; ALSO, CONCERNING THE DEATH OF 
SAMUEL AND NABAL 



1. About this time it was that David heard how the Philistines had made an 
inroad into the country of Keilah, and robbed it; so he offered himself to fight 
against them, if God, when he should be consulted by the prophet, would grant 
him the victory. And when the prophet said that God gave a signal of victory, he 
made a sudden onset upon the Philistines with his companions, and he shed a 
great deal of their blood, and carried off their prey, and staid with the 
inhabitants of Keilah till they had securely gathered in their corn and their 
fruits. However, it was told Saul the king that David was with the men of 
Keilah; for what had been done and the great success that had attended him, 
were not confined among the people where the things were done, but the fame 
of it went all abroad, and came to the hearing of others, and both the fact as it 
stood, and the author of the fact, were carried to the king's ears. Then was Saul 
glad when he heard David was in Keilah; and he said, "God hath now put him 
into my hands, since he hath obliged him to come into a city that hath walls, 
and gates, and bars." So he commanded all the people suddenly, and when they 
had besieged and taken it to kill David. But when David perceived this, and 
learned of God that if he staid there the men of Keilah would deliver him up to 
Saul, he took his four hundred men and retired into a desert that was over 



against a city called Engedi. So that when the king heard he was fled away 
from the men of Keilah, he left off his expedition against him. 

2. Then David removed thence, and came to a certain place called the New 
Place, belonging to Ziph; where Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to him, and 
saluted him, and exhorted him to be of good courage, and to hope well as to his 
condition hereafter, and not to despond at his present circumstances, for that he 
should be king, and have all the forces of the Hebrews under him: he told him 
that such happiness uses to come with great labor and pains: they also took 
oaths, that they would, all their lives long, continue in good-will and fidelity 
one to another; and he called God to witness, as to what execrations he had 
made upon himself if he should transgress his covenant, and should change to a 
contrary behavior. So Jonathan left him there, having rendered his cares and 
fears somewhat lighter, and returned home. Now the men of Ziph, to gratify 
Saul, informed him that David abode with them, and [assured him] that if he 
would come to them, they would deliver him up, for that if the king would 
seize on the Straits of Ziph, David would not escape to any other people. So the 
king commended them, and confessed that he had reason to thank them, 
because they had given him information of his enemy; and he promised them, 
that it should not be long ere he would requite their kindness. He also sent men 
to seek for David, and to search the wilderness wherein he was; and he 
promised that he himself would follow them. Accordingly they went before the 
king, to hunt for and to catch David, and used endeavors, not only to show their 
good-will to Saul, by informing him where his enemy was, but to evidence the 
same more plainly by delivering him up into his power. But these men failed of 
those their unjust and wicked desires, who, while they underwent no hazard by 
not discovering such an ambition of revealing this to Saul, yet did they falsely 
accuse and promise to deliver up a man beloved of God, and one that was 
unjustly sought after to be put to death, and one that might otherwise have lain 
concealed, and this out of flattery, and expectation of gain from the king; for 
when David was apprised of the malignant intentions of the men of Ziph, and 
the approach of Saul, he left the Straits of that country, and fled to the great 
rock that was in the wilderness of Maon. 

3. Hereupon Saul made haste to pursue him thither; for, as he was 
marching, he learned that David was gone away from the Straits of Ziph, and 
Saul removed to the other side of the rock. But the report that the Philistines 
had again made an incursion into the country of the Hebrews, called Saul 
another way from the pursuit of David, when he was ready to be caught; for he 
returned back again to oppose those Philistines, who were naturally their 
enemies, as judging it more necessary to avenge himself of them, than to take a 
great deal of pains to catch an enemy of his own, and to overlook the ravage 
that was made in the land. 



4. And by this means David unexpectedly escaped out of the danger he was 
in, and came to the Straits of Engedi; and when Saul had driven the Philistines 
out of the land, there came some messengers, who told him that David abode 
within the bounds of Engedi: so he took three thousand chosen men that were 
armed, and made haste to him; and when he was not far from those places, he 
saw a deep and hollow cave by the way- side; it was open to a great length and 
breadth, and there it was that David with his four hundred men were concealed. 
When therefore he had occasion to ease nature, he entered into it by himself 
alone; and being seen by one of David's companions, and he that saw him 
saying to him, that he had now, by God's providence, an opportunity of 
avenging himself of his adversary; and advising him to cut off his head, and so 
deliver himself out of that tedious, wandering condition, and the distress he was 
in; he rose up, and only cut off the skirt of that garment which Saul had on: but 
he soon repented of what he had done; and said it was not right to kill him that 
was his master, and one whom God had thought worthy of the kingdom; "for 
that although he were wickedly disposed towards us, yet does it not behoove 
me to be so disposed towards him." But when Saul had left the cave, David 
came near and cried out aloud, and desired Saul to hear him; whereupon the 
king turned his face back, and David, according to custom, fell down on his 
face before the king, and bowed to him; and said, "O king, thou oughtest not to 
hearken to wicked men, nor to such as forge calumnies, nor to gratify them so 
far as to believe what they say, nor to entertain suspicions of such as are your 
best friends, but to judge of the dispositions of all men by their actions; for 
calumny deludes men, but men's own actions are a clear demonstration of their 
kindness. Words indeed, in their own nature, may be either true or false, but 
men's actions expose their intentions nakedly to our view. By these, therefore it 
will be well for thee to believe me, as to my regard to thee and to thy house, 
and not to believe those that frame such accusations against me as never came 
into my mind, nor are possible to be executed, and do this further by pursuing 
after my life, and have no concern either day or night, but how to compass my 
life and to murder me, which thing I think thou dost unjustly prosecute; for how 
comes it about, that thou hast embraced this false opinion about me, as if I had 
a desire to kill thee? Or how canst thou escape the crime of impiety towards 
God, when thou wishest thou couldst kill, and deemest thine adversary, a man 
who had it in his power this day to avenge himself, and to punish thee, but 
would not do it? nor make use of such an opportunity, which, if it had fallen out 
to thee against me, thou hadst not let it slip, for when I cut off the skirt of thy 
garment, I could have done the same to thy head." So he showed him the piece 
of his garment, and thereby made him agree to what he said to be true; and 
added, "I, for certain, have abstained from taking a just revenge upon thee, yet 
art thou not ashamed to prosecute me with unjust hatred. 23 May God do justice, 



and determine about each of our dispositions." — But Saul was amazed at the 
strange delivery he had received; and being greatly affected with the 
moderation and the disposition of the young man, he groaned; and when David 
had done the same, the king answered that he had the justest occasion to groan, 
"for thou hast been the author of good to me, as I have been the author of 
calamity to thee; and thou hast demonstrated this day, that thou possessest the 
righteousness of the ancients, who determined that men ought to save their 
enemies, though they caught them in a desert place. I am now persuaded that 
God reserves the kingdom for thee, and that thou wilt obtain the dominion over 
all the Hebrews. Give me then assurances upon oath, that thou wilt not root out 
my family, nor, out of remembrance of what evil I have done thee, destroy my 
posterity, but save and preserve my house." So David sware as he desired, and 
sent back Saul to his own kingdom; but he, and those that were with him, went 
up the Straits of Mastheroth. 

5. About this time Samuel the prophet died. He was a man whom the 
Hebrews honored in an extraordinary degree: for that lamentation which the 
people made for him, and this during a long time, manifested his virtue, and the 
affection which the people bore for him; as also did the solemnity and concern 
that appeared about his funeral, and about the complete observation of all his 
funeral rites. They buried him in his own city of Ramah; and wept for him a 
very great number of days, not looking on it as a sorrow for the death of 
another man, but as that in which they were every one themselves concerned. 
He was a righteous man, and gentle in his nature; and on that account he was 
very dear to God. Now he governed and presided over the people alone, after 
the death of Eli the high priest, twelve years, and eighteen years together with 
Saul the king. And thus we have finished the history of Samuel. 

6. There was a man that was a Ziphite, of the city of Maon, who was rich, 
and had a vast number of cattle; for he fed a flock of three thousand sheep, and 
another flock of a thousand goats. Now David had charged his associates to 
keep these flocks without hurt and without damage, and to do them no 
mischief, neither out of covetousness, nor because they were in want, nor 
because they were in the wilderness, and so could not easily be discovered, but 
to esteem freedom from injustice above all other motives, and to look upon the 
touching of what belonged to another man as a horrible crime, and contrary to 
the will of God. These were the instructions he gave, thinking that the favors he 
granted this man were granted to a good man, and one that deserved to have 
such care taken of his affairs. This man was Nabal, for that was his name — a 
harsh man, and of a very wicked life, being like a cynic in the course of his 
behavior, but still had obtained for his wife a woman of a good character, wise 
and handsome. To this Nabal, therefore, David sent ten men of his attendants at 
the time when he sheared his sheep, and by them saluted him; and also wished 



he might do what he now did for many years to come, but desired him to make 
him a present of what he was able to give him, since he had, to be sure, learned 
from his shepherds that we had done them no injury, but had been their 
guardians a long time together, while we continued in the wilderness; and he 
assured him he should never repent of giving any thing to David. When the 
messengers had carried this message to Nabal, he accosted them after an 
inhuman and rough manner; for he asked them who David was? and when he 
heard that he was the son of Jesse, he said, "Now is the time that fugitives grow 
insolent, and make a figure, and leave their masters." When they told David 
this, he was wroth, and commanded four hundred armed men to follow him, 
and left two hundred to take care of the stuff, (for he had already six hundred), 24 
and went against Nabal: he also swore that he would that night utterly destroy 
the whole house and possessions of Nabal; for that he was grieved, not only 
that he had proved ungrateful to them, without making any return for the 
humanity they had shown him, but that he had also reproached them, and used 
ill language to them, when he had received no cause of disgust from them. 

7. Hereupon one of those that kept the flocks of Nabal, said to his mistress, 
Nabal's wife, that when David sent to her husband he had received no civil 
answer at all from him; but that her husband had moreover added very 
reproachful language, while yet David had taken extraordinary care to keep his 
flocks from harm, and that what had passed would prove very pernicious to his 
master. When the servant had said this, Abigail, for that was his wife's name, 
saddled her asses, and loaded them with all sorts of presents; and, without 
telling her husband any thing of what she was about, (for he was not sensible 
on account of his drunkenness,) she went to David. She was then met by David 
as she was descending a hill, who was coming against Nabal with four hundred 
men. When the woman saw David, she leaped down from her ass, and fell on 
her face, and bowed down to the ground; and entreated him not to bear in mind 
the words of Nabal, since he knew that he resembled his name. Now Nabal, in 
the Hebrew tongue, signifies folly. So she made her apology, that she did not 
see the messengers whom he sent. "Forgive me, therefore," said she, "and thank 
God, who hath hindered thee from shedding human blood; for so long as thou 
keepest thyself innocent, he will avenge thee of wicked men, 25 for what 
miseries await Nabal, they will fall upon the heads of thine enemies. Be thou 
gracious to me, and think me so far worthy as to accept of these presents from 
me; and, out of regard to me, remit that wrath and that anger which thou hast 
against my husband and his house, for mildness and humanity become thee, 
especially as thou art to be our king." Accordingly, David accepted her 
presents, and said, "Nay, but, O woman, it was no other than God's mercy 
which brought thee to us today, for, otherwise, thou hadst never seen another 
day, I having sworn to destroy Nabal's house this very night, 26 and to leave alive 



not one of you who belonged to a man that was wicked and ungrateful to me 
and my companions; but now hast thou prevented me, and seasonably mollified 
my anger, as being thyself under the care of God's providence: but as for Nabal, 
although for thy sake he now escape punishment, he will not always avoid 
justice; for his evil conduct, on some other occasion, will be his ruin." 

8. When David had said this, he dismissed the woman. But when she came 
home and found her husband feasting with a great company, and oppressed 
with wine, she said nothing to him then about what had happened; but on the 
next day, when he was sober, she told him all the particulars, and made his 
whole body to appear like that of a dead man by her words, and by that grief 
which arose from them; so Nabal survived ten days, and no more, and then 
died. And when David heard of his death, he said that God had justly avenged 
him of this man, for that Nabal had died by his own wickedness, and had 
suffered punishment on his account, while he had kept his own hands clean. At 
which time he understood that the wicked are prosecuted by God; that he does 
not overlook any man, but bestows on the good what is suitable to them, and 
inflicts a deserved punishment on the wicked. So he sent to Nabal's wife, and 
invited her to come to him, to live with him, and to be his wife. Whereupon she 
replied to those that came, that she was not worthy to touch his feet; however, 
she came, with all her servants, and became his wife, having received that 
honor on account of her wise and righteous course of life. She also obtained the 
same honor partly on account of her beauty. Now David had a wife before, 
whom he married from the city Abesar; for as to Michal, the daughter of king 
Saul, who had been David's wife, her father had given her in marriage to Phalti, 
the son of Laish, who was of the city of Gallim. 

9. After this came certain of the Ziphites, and told Saul that David was 
come again into their country, and if he would afford them his assistance, they 
could catch him. So he came to them with three thousand armed men; and upon 
the approach of night, he pitched his camp at a certain place called Hachilah. 
But when David heard that Saul was coming against him, he sent spies, and bid 
them let him know to what place of the country Saul was already come; and 
when they told him that he was at Hachilah, he concealed his going away from 
his companions, and came to Saul's camp, having taken with him Abishai, his 
sister Zeruiah's son, and Ahimelech the Hittite. Now Saul was asleep, and the 
armed men, with Abner their commander, lay round about him in a circle. 
Hereupon David entered into the king's tent; but he did neither kill Saul, though 
he knew where he lay, by the spear that was stuck down by him, nor did he give 
leave to Abishai, who would have killed him, and was earnestly bent upon it so 
to do; for he said it was a horrid crime to kill one that was ordained king by 
God, although he was a wicked man; for that he who gave him the dominion 
would in time inflict punishment upon him. So he restrained his eagerness; but 



that it might appear to have been in his power to have killed him when he 
refrained from it, he took his spear, and the cruse of water which stood by Saul 
as he lay asleep, without being perceived by any in the camp, who were all 
asleep, and went securely away, having performed every thing among the king's 
attendants that the opportunity afforded, and his boldness encouraged him to 
do. So when he had passed over a brook, and was gotten up to the top of a hill, 
whence he might be sufficiently heard, he cried aloud to Saul's soldiers, and to 
Abner their commander, and awaked them out of their sleep, and called both to 
him and to the people. Hereupon the commander heard him, and asked who it 
was that called him. To whom David replied, "It is I, the son of Jesse, whom 
you make a vagabond. But what is the matter? Dost thou, that art a man of so 
great dignity, and of the first rank in the king's court, take so little care of thy 
master's body? and is sleep of more consequence to thee than his preservation, 
and thy care of him? This negligence of yours deserves death, and punishment 
to be inflicted on you, who never perceived when, a little while ago, some of us 
entered into your camp, nay, as far as to the king himself, and to all the rest of 
you. If thou look for the king's spear and his cruse of water, thou wilt learn 
what a mighty misfortune was ready to overtake you in your very camp without 
your knowing it." Now when Saul knew David's voice, and understood that 
when he had him in his power while he was asleep, and his guards took no care 
of him, yet did not he kill him, but spared him, when he might justly have cut 
him off, he said that he owed him thanks for his preservation; and exhorted him 
to be of good courage, and not be afraid of suffering any mischief from him any 
more, and to return to his own home, for he was now persuaded that he did not 
love himself so well as he was loved by him: that he had driven away him that 
could guard him, and had given many demonstrations of his good- will to him: 
that he had forced him to live so long in a state of banishment, and in great 
fears of his life, destitute of his friends and his kindred, while still he was often 
saved by him, and frequently received his life again when it was evidently in 
danger of perishing. So David bade them send for the spear and the cruse of 
water, and take them back; adding this withal, that God would be the judge of 
both their dispositions, and of the actions that flowed from the same, "who 
knows that then it was this day in my power to have killed thee I abstained 
from it." 

10. 10. Thus Saul having escaped the hands of David twice, he went his 
way to his royal palace, and his own city: but David was afraid, that if he staid 
there he should be caught by Saul; so he thought it better to go up into the land 
of the Philistines, and abide there. Accordingly, he came with the six hundred 
men that were with him to Achish, the king of Gath, which was one of their five 
cities. Now the king received both him and his men, and gave them a place to 
inhabit in. He had with him also his two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail, and he 



dwelt in Gath. But when Saul heard this, he took no further care about sending 
to him, or going after him, because he had been twice, in a manner, caught by 
him, while he was himself endeavoring to catch him. However, David had no 
mind to continue in the city of Gath, but desired the king, that since he had 
received him with such humanity, that he would grant him another favor, and 
bestow upon him some place of that country for his habitation, for he was 
ashamed, by living in the city, to be grievous and burdensome to him. So 
Achish gave him a certain village called Ziklag; which place David and his 
sons were fond of when he was king, and reckoned it to be their peculiar 
inheritance. But about those matters we shall give the reader further 
information elsewhere. Now the time that David dwelt in Ziklag, in the land of 
the Philistines, was four months and twenty days. And now he privately 
attacked those Geshurites and Amalekites that were neighbors to the Philistines, 
and laid waste their country, and took much prey of their beasts and camels, 
and then returned home; but David abstained from the men, as fearing they 
should discover him to king Achish; yet did he send part of the prey to him as a 
free gift. And when the king inquired whom they had attacked when they 
brought away the prey, he said, those that lay to the south of the Jews, and 
inhabited in the plain; whereby he persuaded Achish to approve of what he had 
done, for he hoped that David had fought against his own nation, and that now 
he should have him for his servant all his life long, and that he would stay in his 
country. 

CHAPTER 14 

HOW SAUL UPON GOD'S NOT ANSWERING HIM CONCERNING THE 
FIGHT WITH THE PHILISTINES DESIRED A NECROMANTIC WOMAN 
TO RAISE UP THE SOUL OF SAMUEL TO HIM; AND HOW HE DIED, 
WITH HIS SONS UPON THE OVERTHROW OF THE HEBREWS IN 
BATTLE 



1. About the same time the Philistines resolved to make war against the 
Israelites, and sent to all their confederates that they would go along with them 
to the war to Reggan, [near the city Shunem,] whence they might gather 
themselves together, and suddenly attack the Hebrews. Then did Achish, the 
king of Gath, desire David to assist them with his armed men against the 
Hebrews. This he readily promised; and said that the time was now come 
wherein he might requite him for his kindness and hospitality. So the king 
promised to make him the keeper of his body, after the victory, supposing that 
the battle with the enemy succeeded to their mind; which promise of honor and 



confidence he made on purpose to increase his zeal for his service. 

2. Now Saul, the king of the Hebrews, had cast out of the country the 
fortune-tellers, and the necromancers, and all such as exercised the like arts, 
excepting the prophets. But when he heard that the Philistines were already 
come, and had pitched their camp near the city Shunem, situate in the plain, he 
made haste to oppose them with his forces; and when he was come to a certain 
mountain called Gilboa, he pitched his camp over-against the enemy; but when 
he saw the enemy's army he was greatly troubled, because it appeared to him to 
be numerous, and superior to his own; and he inquired of God by the prophets 
concerning the battle, that he might know beforehand what would be the event 
of it. And when God did not answer him, Saul was under a still greater dread, 
and his courage fell, foreseeing, as was but reasonable to suppose, that mischief 
would befall him, now God was not there to assist him; yet did he bid his 
servants to inquire out for him some woman that was a necromancer and called 
up the souls of the dead, that so he might know whether his affairs would 
succeed to his mind; for this sort of necromantic women that bring up the souls 
of the dead, do by them foretell future events to such as desire them. And one 
of his servants told him that there was such a woman in the city Endor, but was 
known to nobody in the camp; hereupon Saul put off his royal apparel, and 
took two of those his servants with him, whom he knew to be most faithful to 
him, and came to Endor to the woman, and entreated her to act the part of a 
fortune-teller, and to bring up such a soul to him as he should name to her. But 
when the woman opposed his motion, and said she did not despise the king, 
who had banished this sort of fortune-tellers, and that he did not do well 
himself, when she had done him no harm, to endeavor to lay a snare for her, 
and to discover that she exercised a forbidden art, in order to procure her to be 
punished, he sware that nobody should know what she did; and that he would 
not tell any one else what she foretold, but that she should incur no danger. As 
soon as he had induced her by this oath to fear no harm, he bid her bring up to 
him the soul of Samuel. She, not knowing who Samuel was, called him out of 
Hades. When he appeared, and the woman saw one that was venerable, and of a 
divine form, she was in disorder; and being astonished at the sight, she said, 
"Art not thou king Saul?" for Samuel had informed her who he was. When he 
had owned that to be true, and had asked her whence her disorder arose, she 
said that she saw a certain person ascend, who in his form was like to a god. 
And when he bid her tell him what he resembled, in what habit he appeared, 
and of what age he was, she told him he was an old man already, and of a 
glorious personage, and had on a sacerdotal mantle. So the king discovered by 
these signs that he was Samuel; and he fell down upon the ground, and saluted 
and worshipped him. And when the soul of Samuel asked him why he had 
disturbed him, and caused him to be brought up, he lamented the necessity he 



was under; for he said, that his enemies pressed heavily upon him; that he was 
in distress what to do in his present circumstances; that he was forsaken of 
God, and could obtain no prediction of what was coming, neither by prophets 
nor by dreams; and that "these were the reasons why I have recourse to thee, 
who always took great care of me." But 27 Samuel, seeing that the end of Saul's 
life was come, said, "It is in vain for thee to desire to learn of me any thing 
future, when God hath forsaken thee: however, hear what I say, that David is to 
be king, and to finish this war with good success; and thou art to lose thy 
dominion and thy life, because thou didst not obey God in the war with the 
Amalekites, and hast not kept his commandments, as I foretold thee while I was 
alive. Know, therefore, that the people shall be made subject to their enemies, 
and that thou, with thy sons, shall fall in the battle tomorrow, and thou shalt 
then be with me [in Hades]." 

3. When Saul heard this, he could not speak for grief, and fell down on the 
floor, whether it were from the sorrow that arose upon what Samuel had said, 
or from his emptiness, for he had taken no food the foregoing day nor night, he 
easily fell quite down: and when with difficulty he had recovered himself, the 
woman would force him to eat, begging this of him as a favor on account of her 
concern in that dangerous instance of fortune-telling, which it was not lawful 
for her to have done, because of the fear she was under of the king, while she 
knew not who he was, yet did she undertake it, and go through with it; on 
which account she entreated him to admit that a table and food might be set 
before him, that he might recover his strength, and so get safe to his own camp. 
And when he opposed her motion, and entirely rejected it, by reason of his 
anxiety, she forced him, and at last persuaded him to it. Now she had one calf 
that she was very fond of, and one that she took a great deal of care of, and fed 
it herself; for she was a woman that got her living by the labor of her own 
hands, and had no other possession but that one calf; this she killed, and made 
ready its flesh, and set it before his servants and himself. So Saul came to the 
camp while it was yet night. 

4. Now it is but just to recommend the generosity of this woman, 28 because 
when the king had forbidden her to use that art whence her circumstances were 
bettered and improved, and when she had never seen the king before, she still 
did not remember to his disadvantage that he had condemned her sort of 
learning, and did not refuse him as a stranger, and one that she had had no 
acquaintance with; but she had compassion upon him, and comforted him, and 
exhorted him to do what he was greatly averse to, and offered him the only 
creature she had, as a poor woman, and that earnestly, and with great humanity, 
while she had no requital made her for her kindness, nor hunted after any future 
favor from him, for she knew he was to die; whereas men are naturally either 
ambitious to please those that bestow benefits upon them, or are very ready to 



serve those from whom they may receive some advantage. It would be well 
therefore to imitate the example and to do kindnesses to all such as are in want 
and to think that nothing is better, nor more becoming mankind, than such a 
general beneficence, nor what will sooner render God favorable, and ready to 
bestow good things upon us. And so far may suffice to have spoken concerning 
this woman. But I shall speak further upon another subject, which will afford 
me all opportunity of discoursing on what is for the advantage of cities, and 
people, and nations, and suited to the taste of good men, and will encourage 
them all in the prosecution of virtue; and is capable of showing them the of 
acquiring glory, and an everlasting fame; and of imprinting in the kings of 
nations, and the rulers of cities, great inclination and diligence of doing well; as 
also of encouraging them to undergo dangers, and to die for their countries, and 
of instructing them how to despise all the most terrible adversities: and I have a 
fair occasion offered me to enter on such a discourse by Saul the king of the 
Hebrews; for although he knew what was coming upon him, and that he was to 
die immediately, by the prediction of the prophet, he did not resolve to fly from 
death, nor so far to indulge the love of life as to betray his own people to the 
enemy, or to bring a disgrace on his royal dignity; but exposing himself, as well 
as all his family and children, to dangers, he thought it a brave thing to fall 
together with them, as he was fighting for his subjects, and that it was better his 
sons should die thus, showing their courage, than to leave them to their 
uncertain conduct afterward, while, instead of succession and posterity, they 
gained commendation and a lasting name. Such a one alone seems to me to be a 
just, a courageous, and a prudent man; and when any one has arrived at these 
dispositions, or shall hereafter arrive at them, he is the man that ought to be by 
all honored with the testimony of a virtuous or courageous man: for as to those 
that go out to war with hopes of success, and that they shall return safe, 
supposing they should have performed some glorious action, I think those do 
not do well who call these valiant men, as so many historians and other writers 
who treat of them are wont to do, although I confess those do justly deserve 
some commendation also; but those only may be styled courageous and bold in 
great undertakings, and despisers of adversities, who imitate Saul: for as for 
those that do not know what the event of war will be as to themselves, and 
though they do not faint in it, but deliver themselves up to uncertain futurity, 
and are tossed this way and that way, this is not so very eminent an instance of 
a generous mind, although they happen to perform many great exploits; but 
when men's minds expect no good event, but they know beforehand they must 
die, and that they must undergo that death in the battle also, after this neither to 
be affrighted, nor to be astonished at the terrible fate that is coming, but to go 
directly upon it, when they know it beforehand, this it is that I esteem the 
character of a man truly courageous. Accordingly this Saul did, and thereby 



demonstrated that all men who desire fame after they are dead are so to act as 
they may obtain the same: this especially concerns kings, who ought not to 
think it enough in their high stations that they are not wicked in the government 
of their subjects, but to be no more than moderately good to them. I could say 
more than this about Saul and his courage, the subject affording matter 
sufficient; but that I may not appear to run out improperly in his 
commendation, I return again to that history from which I made this digression. 

5. Now when the Philistines, as I said before, had pitched their camp, and 
had taken an account of their forces, according to their nations, and kingdoms, 
and governments, king Achish came last of all with his own army; after whom 
came David with his six hundred armed men. And when the commanders of the 
Philistines saw him, they asked the king whence these Hebrews came, and at 
whose invitation. He answered that it was David, who was fled away from his 
master Saul, and that he had entertained him when he came to him, and that 
now he was willing to make him this requital for his favors, and to avenge 
himself upon Saul, and so was become his confederate. The commanders 
complained of this, that he had taken him for a confederate who was an enemy; 
and gave him counsel to send him away, lest he should unawares do his friends 
a great deal of mischief by entertaining him, for that he afforded him an 
opportunity of being reconciled to his master by doing a mischief to our army. 
They thereupon desired him, out of a prudent foresight of this, to send him 
away, with his six hundred armed men, to the place he had given him for his 
habitation; for that this was that David whom the virgins celebrated in their 
hymns, as having destroyed many ten thousands of the Philistines. When the 
king of Gath heard this, he thought they spake well; so he called David, and 
said to him, 'As for myself, I can bear witness that thou hast shown great 
diligence and kindness about me, and on that account it was that I took thee for 
my confederate; however, what I have done does not please the commanders of 
the Philistines; go therefore within a day's time to the place I have given thee, 
without suspecting any harm, and there keep my country, lest any of our 
enemies should make an incursion upon it, which will be one part of that 
assistance which I expect from thee." So David came to Ziklag, as the king of 
Gath bade him; but it happened, that while he was gone to the assistance of the 
Philistines, the Amalekites had made an incursion, and taken Ziklag before, and 
had burnt it; and when they had taken a great deal of other prey out of that 
place, and out of the other parts of the Philistines' country, they departed. 

6. Now when David found that Ziklag was laid waste, and that it was all 
spoiled, and that as well his own wives, who were two, as the wives of his 
companions, with their children, were made captives, he presently rent his 
clothes, weeping and lamenting, together with his friends; and indeed he was so 
cast down with these misfortunes, that at length tears themselves failed him. He 



was also in danger of being stoned to death by his companions, who were 
greatly afflicted at the captivity of their wives and children, for they laid the 
blame upon him of what had happened. But when he had recovered himself out 
of his grief, and had raised up his mind to God, he desired the high priest 
Abiathar to put on his sacerdotal garments, and to inquire of God, and to 
prophesy to him, whether God would grant, that if he pursued after the 
Amalekites, he should overtake them, and save their wives and their children, 
and avenge himself on the enemies. And when the high priest bade him to 
pursue after them, he marched apace, with his four hundred men, after the 
enemy; and when he was come to a certain brook called Besor, and had lighted 
upon one that was wandering about, an Egyptian by birth, who was almost dead 
with want and famine, (for he had continued wandering about without food in 
the wilderness three days,) he first of all gave him sustenance, both meat and 
drink, and thereby refreshed him. He then asked him to whom he belonged, and 
whence he came. Whereupon the man told him he was an Egyptian by birth, 
and was left behind by his master, because he was so sick and weak that he 
could not follow him. He also informed him that he was one of those who had 
burnt and plundered, not only other parts of Judea, but Ziklag itself also. So 
David made use of him as a guide to find out the Amalekites; and when he had 
overtaken them, as they lay scattered about on the ground, some at dinner, 
some disordered, and entirely drunk with wine, and in the fruition of their 
spoils and their prey, he fell upon them on the sudden, and made a great 
slaughter among them; for they were naked, and expected no such thing, but 
had betaken themselves to drinking and feasting; and so they were all easily 
destroyed. Now some of them that were overtaken as they lay at the table were 
slain in that posture, and their blood brought up with it their meat and their 
drink. They slew others of them as they were drinking to one another in their 
cups, and some of them when their full bellies had made them fall asleep; and 
for so many as had time to put on their armor, they slew them with the sword, 
with no less case than they did those that were naked; and for the partisans of 
David, they continued also the slaughter from the first hour of the day to the 
evening, so that there were, not above four hundred of the Amalekites left; and 
they only escaped by getting upon their dromedaries and camels. Accordingly 
David recovered not only all the other spoils which the enemy had carried 
away, but his wives also, and the wives of his companions. But when they were 
come to the place where they had left the two hundred men, which were not 
able to follow them, but were left to take care of the stuff, the four hundred men 
did not think fit to divide among them any other parts of what they had gotten, 
or of the prey, since they did not accompany them, but pretended to be feeble, 
and did not follow them in pursuit of the enemy, but said they should be 
contented to have safely recovered their wives; yet did David pronounce that 



this opinion of theirs was evil and unjust, and that when God had granted them 
such a favor, that they had avenged themselves on their enemies, and had 
recovered all that belonged to themselves, they should make an equal 
distribution of what they had gotten to all, because the rest had tarried behind to 
guard their stuff; and from that time this law obtained among them, that those 
who guarded the stuff, should receive an equal share with those that fought in 
the battle. Now when David was come to Ziklag, he sent portions of the spoils 
to all that had been familiar with him, and to his friends in the tribe of Judah. 
And thus ended the affairs of the plundering of Ziklag, and of the slaughter of 
the Amalekites. 

7. Now upon the Philistines joining battle, there followed a sharp 
engagement, and the Philistines became the conquerors, and slew a great 
number of their enemies; but Saul the king of Israel, and his sons, fought 
courageously, and with the utmost alacrity, as knowing that their entire glory 
lay in nothing else but dying honorably, and exposing themselves to the utmost 
danger from the enemy (for they had nothing else to hope for); so they brought 
upon themselves the whole power of the enemy, till they were encompassed 
round and slain, but not before they had killed many of the Philistines. Now the 
sons of Saul were Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchisua; and when these 
were slain the multitude of the Hebrews were put to flight, and all was disorder, 
and confusion, and slaughter, upon the Philistines pressing in upon them. But 
Saul himself fled, having a strong body of soldiers about him; and upon the 
Philistines sending after them those that threw javelins and shot arrows, he lost 
all his company except a few. As for himself, he fought with great bravery; and 
when he had received so many wounds, that he was not able to bear up nor to 
oppose any longer, and yet was not able to kill himself, he bade his armor- 
bearer draw his sword, and run him through, before the enemy should take him 
alive. But his armor-bearer not daring to kill his master, he drew his own 
sword, and placing himself over against its point, he threw himself upon it; and 
when he could neither run it through him, nor, by leaning against it, make the 
sword pass through him, he turned him round, and asked a certain young man 
that stood by who he was; and when he understood that he was an Amalekite, 
he desired him to force the sword through him, because he was not able to do it 
with his own hands, and thereby to procure him such a death as he desired. This 
the young man did accordingly; and he took the golden bracelet that was on 
Saul's arm, and his royal crown that was on his head, and ran away. And when 
Saul's armor-bearer saw that he was slain, he killed himself; nor did any of the 
king's guards escape, but they all fell upon the mountain called Gilboa. But 
when those Hebrews that dwelt in the valley beyond Jordan, and those who had 
their cities in the plain, heard that Saul and his sons were fallen, and that the 
multitude about them were destroyed, they left their own cities, and fled to such 



as were the best fortified and fenced; and the Philistines, finding those cities 
deserted, came and dwelt in them. 

8. On the next day, when the Philistines came to strip their enemies that 
were slain, they got the bodies of Saul and of his sons, and stripped them, and 
cut off their heads; and they sent messengers all about their country, to acquaint 
them that their enemies were fallen; and they dedicated their armor in the 
temple of Astarte, but hung their bodies on crosses at the walls of the city 
Bethshun, which is now called Scythopolis. But when the inhabitants of 
Jabesh-Gilead heard that they had dismembered the dead bodies of Saul and of 
his sons, they deemed it so horrid a thing to overlook this barbarity, and to 
suffer them to be without funeral rites, that the most courageous and hardy 
among them (and indeed that city had in it men that were very stout both in 
body and mind) journeyed all night, and came to Bethshun, and approached to 
the enemy's wall, and taking down the bodies of Saul and of his sons, they 
carried them to Jabesh, while the enemy were not able enough nor bold enough 
to hinder them, because of their great courage. So the people of Jabesh wept all 
in general, and buried their bodies in the best place of their country, which was 
called Aroura; and they observed a public mourning for them seven days, with 
their wives and children, beating their breasts, and lamenting the king and his 
sons, without either tasting meat or drink 29 [till the evening.] 

9. To this his end did Saul come, according to the prophecy of Samuel, 
because he disobeyed the commands of God about the Amalekites, and on the 
account of his destroying the family of Ahimelech the high priest, with 
Ahimelech himself, and the city of the high priests. Now Saul, when he had 
reigned eighteen years while Samuel was alive, and after his death two [and 
twenty], ended his life in this manner. 



1 Dagon, a famous maritime god or idol, is generally supposed to have been like a man above the navel, 
and like a fish beneath it. 

2 Spanheim informs us here, that upon the coins of Tenedos, and those of other cities, a field-mouse is 
engraven, together with Apollo Smintheus, or Apollo, the driver away of field-mice, on account of his 
being supposed to have freed certain tracts of ground from those mice; which coins show how great a 
judgment such mice have sometimes been, and how the deliverance from them was then esteemed the 
effect of a divine power; which observations are highly suitable to this history. 

3 This device of the Philistines, of having a yoke of kine to draw this cart, into which they put the ark of 
the Hebrews, is greatly illustrated by Sanchoniatho's account, under his ninth generation, that Agrouerus, or 
Agrotes, the husbandman, had a much-worshipped statue and temple, carried about by one or more yoke of 
oxen, or kine, in Phoenicia, in the neighborhood of these Philistines. See Cumberland's Sanchoniatho, p. 27 
and 247; and Essay on the Old Testament, Append, p. 172. 

4 These seventy men, being not so much as Levites, touched the ark in a rash or profane manner, and 
were slain by the hand of God for such their rashness and profaneness, according to the Divine 
threatenings, Numbers 4:15, 20; but how other copies come to add such an incredible number as fifty 
thousand in this one town, or small city, I know not. See Dr. Wall's Critical Notes on 1 Samuel 6: 19. 

5 This is the first place, so far as I remember, in these Antiquities, where Josephus begins to call his 



nation Jews, he having hitherto usually, if not constantly, called them either Hebrews or Israelites. The 
second place soon follows; see also ch. 3. sect. 5. 

6 Of this great mistake of Saul and his servant, as if true prophet of God would accept of a gift or 
present, for foretelling what was desired of him, see the note on B. IV. ch. 6. sect. 3. 

7 It seems to me not improbable that these seventy guests of Samuel, as here, with himself at the head of 
them, were a Jewish sanhedrim, and that hereby Samuel intimated to Saul that these seventy-one were to be 
his constant counselors, and that he was to act not like a sole monarch, but with the advice and direction of 
these seventy-one members of that Jewish sanhedrim upon all occasions, which yet we never read that he 
consulted afterward. 

8 An instance of this Divine fury we have after this in Saul, ch. 5. sect. 2, 3; 1 Samuel 11:6. See the like, 
Judges 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 13:25; and 14:6. 

9 Take here Theodoret's note, cited by Dr. Hudson: — "He that exposes his shield to the enemy with his 
left hand, thereby hides his left eye, and looks at the enemy with his right eye: he therefore that plucks out 
that eye, makes men useless in war." 

10 Mr. Reland observes here, and proves elsewhere in his note on Antiq. B. III. ch. 1. sect. 6, that 
although thunder and lightning with us usually happen in summer, yet in Palestine and Syria they are 
chiefly confined to winter. Josephus takes notice of the same thing again, War, B. IV. ch. 4. sect. 5. 

11 Saul seems to have staid till near the time of the evening sacrifice, on the seventh day, which Samuel 
the prophet of God had appointed him, but not till the end of that day, as he ought to have done; and 
Samuel appears, by delaying to come to the full time of the evening sacrifice on that seventh day, to have 
tried him (who seems to have been already for some time declining from his strict and bounden 
subordination to God and his prophet; to have taken life-guards for himself and his son, which was entirely 
a new thing in Israel, and savored of a distrust of God's providence; and to have affected more than he 
ought that independent authority which the pagan kings took to themselves); Samuel, I say, seems to have 
here tried Saul whether he would stay till the priest came, who alone could lawfully offer the sacrifices, nor 
would boldly and profanely usurp the priest's office, which he venturing upon, was justly rejected for his 
profaneness. See Apost. Constit. B. II. ch. 27. And, indeed, since Saul had accepted kingly power, which 
naturally becomes ungovernable and tyrannical, as God foretold, and the experience of all ages has shown, 
the Divine settlement by Moses had soon been laid aside under the kings, had not God, by keeping strictly 
to his laws, and severely executing the threatenings therein contained, restrained Saul and other kings in 
some degree of obedience to himself; nor was even this severity sufficient to restrain most of the future 
kings of Israel and Judah from the grossest idolatry and impiety. Of the advantage of which strictness, in 
the observing Divine laws, and inflicting their threatened penalties, see Antiq. B. VI. ch. 12. sect. 7; and 
Against Apion, B. II. sect. 30, where Josephus speaks of that matter; though it must be noted that it seems, 
at least in three instances, that good men did not always immediately approve of such Divine severity. 
There seems to be one instance, 1 Samuel 6:19, 20; another, 1 Samuel 15:11; and a third, 2 Samuel 6:8, 9; 
Antiq. B. VI. ch. 7. sect. 2; though they all at last acquiesced in the Divine conduct, as knowing that God is 
wiser than men. 

12 By this answer of Samuel, and that from a Divine commission, which is fuller in 1 Samuel 13:14, and 
by that parallel note in the Apostolical Constitutions just now quoted, concerning the great wickedness of 
Saul in venturing, even under a seeming necessity of affairs, to usurp the priest's office, and offer sacrifice 
without the priest, we are in some degree able to answer that question, which I have ever thought a very 
hard one, viz. Whether, if there were a city or country of lay Christians without any clergymen, it were 
lawful for the laity alone to baptize, or celebrate the eucharist, etc., or indeed whether they alone could 
ordain themselves either bishops, priests, or deacons, for the due performance of such sacerdotal 
ministrations; or whether they ought not rather, till they procure clergymen to come among them, to confine 
themselves within those bounds of piety and Christianity which belong alone to the laity; such particularly 
as are recommended in the first book of the Apostolical Constitutions, which peculiarly concern the laity, 
and are intimated in Clement's undoubted epistle, sect. 40. To which latter opinion I incline. 

13 This rash vow or curse of Saul, which Josephus says was confirmed by the people, and yet not 
executed, I suppose principally because Jonathan did not know of it, is very remarkable; it being of the 
essence of the obligation of all laws, that they be sufficiently known and promulgated, otherwise the 
conduct of Providence, as to the sacredness of solemn oaths and vows, in God's refusing to answer by Urim 
till this breach of Saul's vow or curse was understood and set right, and God propitiated by public prayer, is 
here very remarkable, as indeed it is every where else in the Old Testament. 

14 Here we have still more indications of Saul's affectation of despotic power, and of his entrenching 



upon the priesthood, and making and endeavoring to execute a rash vow or curse, without consulting 
Samuel or the sanhedrim. In this view it is also that I look upon this erection of a new altar by Saul, and his 
offering of burnt-offerings himself upon it, and not as any proper instance of devotion or religion, with 
other commentators. 

15 The reason of this severity is distinctly given, 1 Samuel 15:18, "Go and utterly destroy the sinners the 
Amalekites:" nor indeed do we ever meet with these Amalekites but as very cruel and bloody people, and 
particularly seeking to injure and utterly to destroy the nation of Israel. See Exodus 17:8-16; Numbers 
14:45; Deuteronomy 25:17-19; Judges 6:3, 6; 1 Samuel 15:33; Psalms 83:7; and, above all, the most 
barbarous of all cruelties, that of Haman the Agagite, or one of the posterity of Agag, the old king of the 
Amalekites, Esther 3:1-15. 

16 Spanheim takes notice here that the Greeks had such singers of hymns; and that usually children or 
youths were picked out for that service; as also, that those called singers to the harp, did the same that 
David did here, i.e. join their own vocal and instrumental music together. 

17 Josephus says thrice in this chapter, and twice afterwards, ch. 11. sect. 2, and B. VII. ch. 1. sect. 4, i.e. 
five times in all, that Saul required not a bare hundred of the foreskins of the Philistines, but six hundred of 
their heads. The Septuagint have 100 foreskins, but the Syriac and Arabic 200. Now that these were not 
foreskins, with our other copies, but heads, with Josephus's copy, seems somewhat probable, from 1 
Samuel 29:4, where all copies say that it was with the heads of such Philistines that David might reconcile 
himself to his master, Saul. 

18 Since the modern Jews have lost the signification of the Hebrew word here used, cebir; and since the 
LXX., as well as Josephus, reader it the liver of the goat, and since this rendering, and Josephus's account, 
are here so much more clear and probable than those of others, it is almost unaccountable that our 
commentators should so much as hesitate about its true interpretation. 

19 These violent and wild agitations of Saul seem to me to have been no other than demoniacal; and that 
the same demon which used to seize him, since he was forsaken of God, and which the divine hymns and 
psalms which were sung to the harp by David used to expel, was now in a judicial way brought upon him, 
not only in order to disappoint his intentions against innocent David, but to expose him to the laughter and 
contempt of all that saw him, or heard of those agitations; such violent and wild agitations being never 
observed in true prophets, when they were under the inspiration of the Spirit of God. Our other copies, 
which say the Spirit of God came upon him, seem not so here in this copy, which mentions nothing of God 
at all. Nor does Josephus seem to ascribe this impulse and ecstasy of Saul to any other than to his old 
demoniacal spirit, which on all accounts appears the most probable. Nor does the former description of 
Saul's real inspiration by the Divine Spirit, 1 Samuel 10:9-12; Antiq. B. VI. ch. 4. sect. 2, which was before 
he was become wicked, well agree with the descriptions before us. 

20 What is meant by Saul's lying down naked all that day, and all that night, 1 Samuel 19:4, and whether 
any more than laying aside his royal apparel, or upper garments, as Josephus seems to understand it, is by 
no means certain. See the note on Antiq. B. VIII. ch. 14. sect. 2. 

21 This city Nob was not a city allotted to the priests, nor had the prophets, that we know of, any 
particular cities allotted them. It seems the tabernacle was now at Nob, and probably a school of the 
prophets was here also. It was full two days' journey on foot from Jerusalem, 1 Samuel 21:5. The number 
of priests here slain in Josephus is three hundred and eighty-five, and but eighty-five in our Hebrew copies; 
yet are they three hundred and five in the Septuagint. I prefer Josephus's number, the Hebrew having, I 
suppose, only dropped the hundreds, the other the tens. This city Nob seems to have been the chief, or 
perhaps the only seat of the family of Ithamar, which here perished, according to God's former terrible 
threatenings to Eli, 1 Samuel 2:27-36; 3:11-18. See ch. 14. sect. D, hereafter. 

22 This section contains an admirable reflection of Josephus concerning the general wickedness of men 
in great authority, and the danger they are in of rejecting that regard to justice and humanity, to Divine 
Providence and the fear of God, which they either really had, or pretended to have, while they were in a 
lower condition. It can never be too often perused by kings and great men, nor by those who expect to 
obtain such elevated dignities among mankind. See the like reflections of our Josephus, Antiq. B. VII. ch. 1. 
sect. 5, at the end; and B. VIII. ch. 10. sect. 2, at the beginning. They are to the like purport with one branch 
of Agur's prayer: "One thing have I required of thee, deny it me not before I die: give me not riches, lest I 
be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord?" Proverbs 30:7-9. 

23 The phrase in David's speech to Saul, as set down in Josephus, that he had abstained from just 
revenge, puts me in mind of the like words in the Apostolical Constitutions, B. VII. ch. 2, "That revenge is 
not evil, but that patience is more honorable." 



24 The number of men that came first to David, are distinctly in Josephus, and in our common copies, but 
four hundred. When he was at Keilah still but four hundred, both in Josephus and in the LXX.; but six 
hundred in our Hebrew copies, 1 Samuel 23:3; see 30:9, 10. Now the six hundred there mentioned are here 
estimated by Josephus to have been so many, only by an augmentation of two hundred afterward, which I 
suppose is the true solution of this seeming disagreement. 

25 In this and the two next sections, we may perceive how Josephus, nay, how Abigail herself, would 
understand, the "not avenging ourselves, but heaping coals of fire on the head of the injurious," Proverbs 
25:22; Romans 12:20, not as we do now, of them into but of leaving them to the judgment of God, "to 
whom vengeance belongeth," Deuteronomy 32:35; Psalms 94:1; Hebrews 10:30, and who will take 
vengeance on the wicked. And since all God's judgments are just, and all fit to be executed, and all at length 
for the good of the persons punished, I incline to think that to be the meaning of this phrase of "heaping 
coals of fire on their heads." 

26 We may note here, that how sacred soever an oath was esteemed among the people of God in old 
times, they did not think it obligatory where the action was plainly unlawful. For so we see it was in this 
case of David, who, although he had sworn to destroy Nabal and his family, yet does he here, and 1 Samuel 
25:32-41, bless God for preventing his keeping his oath, and shedding of blood, which he had swore to do. 

27 This history of Saul's consultation, not with a witch, as we render the Hebrew word here, but with a 
necromancer, as the whole history shows, is easily understood, especially if we consult the Recognitions of 
Clement, B. I. ch. 5. at large, and more briefly, and nearer the days of Samuel Ecclus. 46:20, "Samuel 
prophesied after his death, and showed the king his end, and lift up his voice from the earth in prophecy," to 
blot out "the wickedness of the people." Nor does the exactness of the accomplishment of this prediction, 
the very next day, permit us to suppose any imposition upon Saul in the present history; for as to all modern 
hypotheses against the natural sense of such ancient and authentic histories, I take them to be of very small 
value or consideration. 

28 These great commendations of this necromantic woman of Endor, and of Saul's martial courage, when 
yet he knew he should die in the battle, are somewhat unusual digressions in Josephus. They seem to me 
extracted from some speeches or declamations of his composed formerly, in the way of oratory, that lay by 
him, and which he thought fit to insert upon this occasion. See before on Antiq. B. I. ch. 6 sect. 8. 

29 This way of speaking in Josephus, of fasting "seven days without meat or drink," is almost like that of 
St. Paul, Acts 27:33, "This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried, and continued fasting, having 
taken nothing: " and as the nature of the thing, and the impossibility of strictly fasting so long, require us 
here to understand both Josephus and the sacred author of this history, 1 Samuel 30: 13, from whom he took 
it, of only fasting fill the evening; so must we understand St. Paul, either that this was really the fourteenth 
day that they had taken nothing till the evening, or else that this was the fourteenth day of their tempestuous 
weather in the Adriatic Sea, as ver. 27, and that on this fourteenth day alone they had continued fasting, and 
had taken nothing before that evening. The mention of their long abstinence, ver. 21, inclines me to believe 
the former explication to he the truth, and that the case was then for a fortnight what it was here for a week, 
that they kept all those days entirely as lasts till the evening, but not longer. See Judges 20:26; 21:2; 1 
Samuel 14:24; 2 Samuel 1:12; Antiq. B. VII. ch. 7. sect. 4. 



BOOK 7 

CONTAINING THE INTERVAL OF FORTY YEARS 

FROM THE DEATH OF SAUL TO THE DEATH OF DAVID 
CHAPTER 1 

HOW DAVID REIGNED OVER ONE TRIBE AT HEBRON WHILE THE 
SON OF SAUL REIGNED OVER THE REST OF THE MULTITUDE; AND 



HOW, IN THE CIVIL WAR WHICH THEN AROSE, AS AHEL AND ABNER 
WERE SLAIN 



1. This fight proved to be on the same day whereon David was come back to 
Ziklag, after he had overcome the Amalekites. Now when he had been already 
two days at Ziklag, there came to him the man who slew Saul, which was the 
third day after the fight. He had escaped out of the battle which the Israelites 
had with the Philistines, and had his clothes rent, and ashes upon his head. And 
when he made his obeisance to David, he inquired of him whence he came. He 
replied, from the battle of the Israelites; and he informed him that the end of it 
was unfortunate, many ten thousands of the Israelites having been cut off, and 
Saul, together with his sons, slain. He also said that he could well give him this 
information, because he was present at the victory gained over the Hebrews, 
and was with the king when he fled. Nor did he deny that he had himself slain 
the king, when he was ready to be taken by the enemy, and he himself exhorted 
him to do it, because, when he was fallen on his sword, his great wounds had 
made him so weak that he was not able to kill himself. He also produced 
demonstrations that the king was slain, which were the golden bracelets that 
had been on the king's arms, and his crown, which he had taken away from 
Saul's dead body, and had brought them to him. So David having no longer any 
room to call in question the truth of what he said, but seeing most evident 
marks that Saul was dead, he rent his garments, and continued all that day with 
his companions in weeping and lamentation. This grief was augmented by the 
consideration of Jonathan; the son of Saul, who had been his most faithful 
friend, and the occasion of his own deliverance. He also demonstrated himself 
to have such great virtue, and such great kindness for Saul, as not only to take 
his death to heart, though he had been frequently in danger of losing his life by 
his means, but to punish him that slew him; for when David had said to him 
that he was become his own accuser, as the very man who had slain the king, 
and when he had understood that he was the son of an Amalekite, he 
commanded him to be slain. He also committed to writing some lamentations 
and funeral commendations of Saul and Jonathan, which have continued to my 
own age. 

2. Now when David had paid these honors to the king, he left off his 
mourning, and inquired of God by the prophet which of the cities of the tribe of 
Judah he would bestow upon him to dwell in; who answered that he bestowed 
upon him Hebron. So he left Ziklag, and came to Hebron, and took with him 
his wives, who were in number two, and his armed men; whereupon all the 
people of the forementioned tribe came to him, and ordained him their king. 
But when he heard that the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead had buried Saul and 
his sons [honorably], he sent to them and commended them, and took what they 



had done kindly, and promised to make them amends for their care of those that 
were dead; and at the same time he informed them that the tribe of Judah had 
chosen him for their king. 

3. But as soon as Abner, the son of Ner, who was general of Saul's army, 
and a very active man, and good-natured, knew that the king, and Jonathan, and 
his two other sons, were fallen in the battle, he made haste into the camp; and 
taking away with him the remaining son of Saul, whose name was Ishbosheth, 
he passed over to the land beyond Jordan, and ordained him the king of the 
whole multitude, excepting the tribe of Judah; and made his royal seat in a 
place called in our own language Mahanaim, but in the language of the 
Grecians, The Camps; from whence Abner made haste with a select body of 
soldiers, to fight with such of the tribe of Judah as were disposed to it, for he 
was angry that this tribe had set up David for their king. But Joab, whose father 
was Suri, and his mother Zeruiah, David's sister, who was general of David's 
army, met him, according to David's appointment. He had with him his 
brethren, Abishai and Asahel, as also all David's armed men. Now when he met 
Abner at a certain fountain, in the city of Gibeon, he prepared to fight. And 
when Abner said to him, that he had a mind to know which of them had the 
more valiant soldiers, it was agreed between them that twelve soldiers of each 
side should fight together. So those that were chosen out by both the generals 
for this fight came between the two armies, and throwing their lances one 
against the other, they drew their swords, and catching one another by the head, 
they held one another fast, and ran each other's swords into their sides and 
groins, until they all, as it were by mutual agreement, perished together. When 
these were fallen down dead, the rest of the army came to a sore battle, and 
Abner's men were beaten; and when they were beaten, Joab did not leave off 
pursuing them, but he pressed upon them, and excited the soldiers to follow 
them close, and not to grow weary of killing them. His brethren also pursued 
them with great alacrity, especially the younger, Asahel, who was the most 
eminent of them. He was very famous for his swiftness of foot, for he could not 
only be too hard for men, but is reported to have overrun a horse, when they 
had a race together. This Asahel ran violently after Abner, and would not turn in 
the least out of the straight way, either to the one side or to the other. Hereupon 
Abner turned back, and attempted artfully to avoid his violence. Sometimes he 
bade him leave off the pursuit, and take the armor of one of his soldiers; and 
sometimes, when he could not persuade him so to do, he exhorted him to 
restrain himself, and not to pursue him any longer, lest he should force him to 
kill him, and he should then not be able to look his brother in the face; but 
when Asahel would not admit of any persuasions, but still continued to pursue 
him, Abner smote him with his spear, as he held it in his flight, and that by a 
back stroke, and gave him a deadly wound, so that he died immediately; but 



those that were with him pursuing Abner, when they came to the place where 
Asahel lay, they stood round about the dead body, and left off the pursuit of the 
enemy. However, both Joab 1 himself, and his brother Abishai, ran past the dead 
corpse, and making their anger at the death of Asahel an occasion of greater 
zeal against Abner, they went on with incredible haste and alacrity, and pursued 
Abner to a certain place called Ammah: it was about sunset. Then did Joab 
ascend a certain hill, as he stood at that place, having the tribe of Benjamin 
with him, whence he took a view of them, and of Abner also. Hereupon Abner 
cried aloud, and said that it was not fit that they should irritate men of the same 
nation to fight so bitterly one against another; that as for Asahel his brother, he 
was himself in the wrong, when he would not be advised by him not to pursue 
him any farther, which was the occasion of his wounding and death. So Joab 
consented to what he said, and accepted these his words as an excuse [about 
Asahel], and called the soldiers back with the sound of the trumpet, as a signal 
for their retreat, and thereby put a stop to any further pursuit. After which Joab 
pitched his camp there that night; but Abner marched all that night, and passed 
over the river Jordan, and came to Ishbosheth, Saul's son, to Mahanaim. On the 
next day Joab counted the dead men, and took care of all their funerals. Now 
there were slain of Abner's soldiers about three hundred and sixty; but of those 
of David nineteen, and Asahel, whose body Joab and Abishai carried to 
Bethlehem; and when they had buried him in the sepulchre of their fathers, they 
came to David to Hebron. From this time, therefore, they began an intestine 
war, which lasted a great while, in which the followers of David grew stronger 
in the dangers they underwent, and the servants and subjects of Saul's sons did 
almost every day become weaker. 

4. About this time David was become the father of six sons, born of as 
many mothers. The eldest was by Ahinoam, and he was called Arenon; the 
second was Daniel, by his wife Abigail; the name of the third was Absalom, by 
Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur; the fourth he named Adonijah, 
by his wife Haggith; the fifth was Shephatiah, by Abitail; the sixth he called 
Ithream, by Eglah. Now while this intestine war went on, and the subjects of 
the two kings came frequently to action and to fighting, it was Abner, the 
general of the host of Saul's son, who, by his prudence, and the great interest he 
had among the multitude, made them all continue with Ishbosheth; and indeed 
it was a considerable time that they continued of his party; but afterwards 
Abner was blamed, and an accusation was laid against him, that he went in unto 
Saul's concubine: her name was Rispah, the daughter of Aiah. So when he was 
complained of by Ishbosheth, he was very uneasy and angry at it, because he 
had not justice done him by Ishbosheth, to whom he had shown the greatest 
kindness; whereupon he threatened to transfer the kingdom to David, and 
demonstrate that he did not rule over the people beyond Jordan by his own 



abilities and wisdom, but by his warlike conduct and fidelity in leading his 
army. So he sent ambassadors to Hebron to David, and desired that he would 
give him security upon oath that he would esteem him his companion and his 
friend, upon condition that he should persuade the people to leave Saul's son, 
and choose him king of the whole country; and when David had made that 
league with Abner, for he was pleased with his message to him, he desired that 
he would give this as the first mark of performance of the present league, that 
he might have his wife Michal restored to him, as her whom he had purchased 
with great hazards, and with those six hundred heads of the Philistines which he 
had brought to Saul her father. So Abner took Michal from Phaltiel, who was 
then her husband, and sent her to David, Ishbosheth himself affording him his 
assistance, for David had written to him that of right he ought to have this his 
wife restored to him. Abner also called together the elders of the multitude, the 
commanders and captains of thousands, and spake thus to them: That he had 
formerly dissuaded them from their own resolution, when they were ready to 
forsake Ishbosheth, and to join themselves to David; that, however, he now 
gave them leave so to do, if they had a mind to it, for they knew that God had 
appointed David to be king of all the Hebrews by Samuel the prophet; and had 
foretold that he should punish the Philistines, and overcome them, and bring 
them under. Now when the elders and rulers heard this, and understood that 
Abner was come over to those sentiments about the public affairs which they 
were of before, they changed their measures, and came in to David. When these 
men had agreed to Abner's proposal, he called together the tribe of Benjamin, 
for all of that tribe were the guards of Ishbosheth's body, and he spake to them 
to the same purpose. And when he saw that they did not in the least oppose 
what he said, but resigned themselves up to his opinion, he took about twenty 
of his friends and came to David, in order to receive himself security upon oath 
from him; for we may justly esteem those things to be firmer which every one 
of us do by ourselves, than those which we do by another. He also gave him an 
account of what he had said to the rulers, and to the whole tribe of Benjamin; 
and when David had received him in a courteous manner, and had treated him 
with great hospitality for many days, Abner, when he was dismissed, desired 
him to bring the multitude with him, that he might deliver up the government to 
him, when David himself was present, and a spectator of what was done. 

5. When David had sent Abner away, Joab, the general of his army, came 
immediately to Hebron; he had understood that Abner had been with David, 
and had parted with him a little before, under leagues and agreements that the 
government should be delivered up to David, he feared lest David should place 
Abner, who had assisted him to gain the kingdom, in the first rank of dignity, 
especially since he was a shrewd man in other respects, in understanding 
affairs, and in managing them artfully, as proper seasons should require, and 



that he should himself be put lower, and be deprived of the command of the 
army; so he took a knavish and a wicked course. In the first place, he 
endeavored to calumniate Abner to the king, exhorting him to have a care of 
him, and not to give attention to what he had engaged to do for him, because all 
he did tended to confirm the government to Saul's son; that he came to him 
deceitfully and with guile, and was gone away in hopes of gaining his purpose 
by this management: but when he could not thus persuade David, nor saw him 
at all exasperated, he betook himself to a project bolder than the former: — he 
determined to kill Abner; and in order thereto, he sent some messengers after 
him, to whom he gave in charge, that when they should overtake him they 
should recall him in David's name, and tell him that he had somewhat to say to 
him about his affairs, which he had not remembered to speak of when he was 
with him. Now when Abner heard what the messengers said, (for they overtook 
him in a certain place called Besira, which was distant from Hebron twenty 
furlongs,) he suspected none of the mischief which was befalling him, and 
came back. Hereupon Joab met him in the gate, and received him in the kindest 
manner, as if he were Abner's most benevolent acquaintance and friend; for 
such as undertake the vilest actions, in order to prevent the suspicion of any 
private mischief intended, do frequently make the greatest pretences to what 
really good men sincerely do. So he took him aside from his own followers, as 
if he would speak with him in private, and brought him into a void place of the 
gate, having himself nobody with him but his brother Abishai; then he drew his 
sword, and smote him in the groin; upon which Abner died by this treachery of 
Joab, which, as he said himself, was in the way of punishment for his brother 
Asahel, whom Abner smote and slew as he was pursuing after him in the battle 
of Hebron, but as the truth was, out of his fear of losing his command of the 
army, and his dignity with the king, and lest he should be deprived of those 
advantages, and Abner should obtain the first rank in David's court. By these 
examples any one may learn how many and how great instances of wickedness 
men will venture upon for the sake of getting money and authority, and that 
they may not fail of either of them; for as when they are desirous of obtaining 
the same, they acquire them by ten thousand evil practices; so when they are 
afraid of losing them, they get them confirmed to them by practices much 
worse than the former, as if no other calamity so terrible could befall them as 
the failure of acquiring so exalted an authority; and when they have acquired it, 
and by long custom found the sweetness of it, the losing it again: and since this 
last would be the heaviest of all afflictions, they all of them contrive and 
venture upon the most difficult actions, out of the fear of losing the same. But 
let it suffice that I have made these short reflections upon that subject. 

6. When David heard that Abner was slain, it grieved his soul; and he called 
all men to witness, with stretching out his hands to God, and crying out that he 



was not a partaker in the murder of Abner, and that his death was not procured 
by his command or approbation. He also wished the heaviest curses might light 
upon him that slew him and upon his whole house; and he devoted those that 
had assisted him in this murder to the same penalties on its account; for he took 
care not to appear to have had any hand in this murder, contrary to the 
assurances he had given and the oaths he had taken to Abner. However, he 
commanded all the people to weep and lament this man, and to honor his dead 
body with the usual solemnities; that is, by rending their garments, and putting 
on sackcloth, and that things should be the habit in which they should go before 
the bier; after which he followed it himself, with the elders and those that were 
rulers, lamenting Abner, and by his tears demonstrating his good-will to him 
while he was alive, and his sorrow for him now he was dead, and that he was 
not taken off with his consent. So he buried him at Hebron in a magnificent 
manner, and indited funeral elegies for him; he also stood first over the 
monument weeping, and caused others to do the same; nay, so deeply did the 
death of Abner disorder him, that his companions could by no means force him 
to take any food, but he affirmed with an oath that he would taste nothing till 
the sun was set. This procedure gained him the good- will of the multitude; for 
such as had an affection for Abner were mightily satisfied with the respect he 
paid him when he was dead, and the observation of that faith he had plighted to 
him, which was shown in his vouchsafing him all the usual ceremonies, as if he 
had been his kinsman and his friend, and not suffering him to be neglected and 
injured with a dishonorable burial, as if he had been his enemy; insomuch that 
the entire nation rejoiced at the king's gentleness and mildness of disposition, 
every one being ready to suppose that the king would have taken the same care 
of them in the like circumstances, which they saw be showed in the burial of 
the dead body of Abner. And indeed David principally intended to gain a good 
reputation, and therefore he took care to do what was proper in this case, 
whence none had any suspicion that he was the author of Abner's death. He also 
said this to the multitude, that he was greatly troubled at the death of so good a 
man; and that the affairs of the Hebrews had suffered great detriment by being 
deprived of him, who was of so great abilities to preserve them by his excellent 
advice, and by the strength of his hands in war. But he added, that "God, who 
hath a regard to all men's actions, will not suffer this man [Joab] to go off 
unrevenged; but know ye, that I am not able to do any thing to these sons of 
Zeruiah, Joab and Abishai, who have more power than I have; but God will 
requite their insolent attempts upon their own heads." And this was the fatal 
conclusion of the life of Abner. 

CHAPTER 2 



THAT UPON THE SLAUGHTER OF ISHBOSHETH BY THE TREACHERY 
OF HIS FRIENDS, DAVID RECEIVED THE WHOLE KINGDOM 

1. When Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, had heard of the death of Abner, he took 
it to heart to be deprived of a man that was of his kindred, and had indeed given 
him the kingdom, but was greatly afflicted, and Abner's death very much 
troubled him; nor did he himself outlive any long time, but was treacherously 
set upon by the sons of Rimmon, (Baanah and Rechab were their names,) and 
was slain by them; for these being of a family of the Benjamites, and of the first 
rank among them, thought that if they should slay Ishbosheth, they should 
obtain large presents from David, and be made commanders by him, or, 
however, should have some other trust committed to them. So when they once 
found him alone, and asleep at noon, in an upper room, when none of his 
guards were there, and when the woman that kept the door was not watching, 
but was fallen asleep also, partly on account of the labor she had undergone, 
and partly on account of the heat of the day, these men went into the room in 
which Ishbosheth, Saul's son, lay asleep, and slew him; they also cut off his 
head, and took their journey all that night, and the next day, as supposing 
themselves flying away from those they had injured, to one that would accept 
of this action as a favor, and would afford them security. So they came to 
Hebron, and showed David the head of Ishbosheth, and presented themselves to 
him as his well-wishers, and such as had killed one that was his enemy and 
antagonist. Yet David did not relish what they had done as they expected, but 
said to them, "You vile wretches, you shall immediately receive the punishment 
you deserve. Did not you know what vengeance I executed on him that 
murdered Saul, and brought me his crown of gold, and this while he who made 
this slaughter did it as a favor to him, that he might not be caught by his 
enemies? Or do you imagine that I am altered in my disposition, and suppose 
that I am not the same man I then was, but am pleased with men that are 
wicked doers, and esteem your vile actions, when you are become murderers of 
your master, as grateful to me, when you have slain a righteous man upon his 
bed, who never did evil to any body, and treated you with great good-will and 
respect? Wherefore you shall suffer the punishment due on his account, and the 
vengeance I ought to inflict upon you for killing Ishbosheth, and for supposing 
that I should take his death kindly at your hands; for you could not lay a greater 
blot on my honor, than by making such a supposal." When David had said this, 
he tormented them with all sorts of torments, and then put them to death; and 
he bestowed all accustomed rites on the burial of the head of Ishbosheth, and 
laid it in the grave of Abner. 

2. When these things were brought to this conclusion, all the principal men 
of the Hebrew people came to David to Hebron, with the heads of thousands, 



and other rulers, and delivered themselves up to him, putting him in mind of the 
good-will they had borne to him in Saul's lifetime, and the respect they then 
had not ceased to pay him when he was captain of a thousand, as also that he 
was chosen of God by Samuel the prophet, he and his sons; 2 and declaring 
besides, how God had given him power to save the land of the Hebrews, and to 
overcome the Philistines. Whereupon he received kindly this their alacrity on 
his account; and exhorted them to continue in it, for that they should have no 
reason to repent of being thus disposed to him. So when he had feasted them, 
and treated them kindly, he sent them out to bring all the people to him; upon 
which came to him about six thousand and eight hundred armed men of the 
tribe of Judah, who bare shields and spears for their weapons, for these had [till 
now] continued with Saul's son, when the rest of the tribe of Judah had 
ordained David for their king. There came also seven thousand and one 
hundred out of the tribe of Simeon. Out of the tribe of Levi came four thousand 
and seven hundred, having Jehoiada for their leader. After these came Zadok 
the high priest, with twenty-two captains of his kindred. Out of the tribe of 
Benjamin the armed men were four thousand; but the rest of the tribe 
continued, still expecting that some one of the house of Saul should reign over 
them. Those of the tribe of Ephraim were twenty thousand and eight hundred, 
and these mighty men of valor, and eminent for their strength. Out of the half 
tribe of Manasseh came eighteen thousand, of the most potent men. Out of the 
tribe of Issachar came two hundred, who foreknew what was to come 
hereafter, 3 but of armed men twenty thousand. Of the tribe of Zebulon fifty 
thousand chosen men. This was the only tribe that came universally in to 
David, and all these had the same weapons with the tribe of Gad. Out of the 
tribe of Naphthali the eminent men and rulers were one thousand, whose 
weapons were shields and spears, and the tribe itself followed after, being (in a 
manner) innumerable [thirty-seven thousand]. Out of the tribe of Dan there 
were of chosen men twenty-seven thousand and six hundred. Out of the tribe of 
Asher were forty thousand. Out of the two tribes that were beyond Jordan, and 
the rest of the tribe of Manasseh, such as used shields, and spears, and head- 
pieces, and swords, were a hundred and twenty thousand. The rest of the tribes 
also made use of swords. This multitude came together to Hebron to David, 
with a great quantity of corn, and wine, and all other sorts of food, and 
established David in his kingdom with one consent. And when the people had 
rejoiced for three days in Hebron, David and all the people removed and came 
to Jerusalem. 

CHAPTER 3 

HOW DAVID LAID SIEGE TO JERUSALEM; AND WHEN HE HAD 



TAKEN THE CITY, HE CAST THE CANAANITES OUT OF IT, AND 
BROUGHT IN THE JEWS TO INHABIT THEREIN 



1. Now the Jebusites, who were the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and were by 
extraction Canaanites, shut their gates, and placed the blind, and the lame, and 
all their maimed persons, upon the wall, in way of derision of the king, and said 
that the very lame themselves would hinder his entrance into it. This they did 
out of contempt of his power, and as depending on the strength of their walls. 
David was hereby enraged, and began the siege of Jerusalem, and employed his 
utmost diligence and alacrity therein, as intending by the taking of this place to 
demonstrate his power, and to intimidate all others that might be of the like 
[evil] disposition towards him. So he took the lower city by force, but the 
citadel held out still; 4 whence it was that the king, knowing that the proposal of 
dignities and rewards would encourage the soldiers to greater actions, promised 
that he who should first go over the ditches that were beneath the citadel, and 
should ascend to the citadel itself and take it, should have the command of the 
entire people conferred upon him. So they all were ambitious to ascend, and 
thought no pains too great in order to ascend thither, out of their desire of the 
chief command. However, Joab, the son of Zeruiah, prevented the rest; and as 
soon as he was got up to the citadel, cried out to the king, and claimed the chief 
command. 

2. When David had cast the Jebusites out of the citadel, he also rebuilt 
Jerusalem, and named it The City of David, and abode there all the time of his 
reign; but for the time that he reigned over the tribe of Judah only in Hebron, it 
was seven years and six months. Now when he had chosen Jerusalem to be his 
royal city, his affairs did more and more prosper, by the providence of God, 
who took care that they should improve and be augmented. Hiram also, the 
king of the Tyrians, sent ambassadors to him, and made a league of mutual 
friendship and assistance with him. He also sent him presents, cedar-trees, and 
mechanics, and men skilful in building and architecture, that they might build 
him a royal palace at Jerusalem. Now David made buildings round about the 
lower city: he also joined the citadel to it, and made it one body; and when he 
had encompassed all with walls, he appointed Joab to take care of them. It was 
David, therefore, who first cast the Jebusites out of Jerusalem, and called it by 
his own name, The City of David: for under our forefather Abraham it was 
called (Salem, or) Solyma; 5 but after that time, some say that Homer mentions 
it by that name of Solyma, [for he named the temple Solyma, according to the 
Hebrew language, which denotes security.] Now the whole time from the 
warfare under Joshua our general against the Canaanites, and from that war in 
which he overcame them, and distributed the land among the Hebrews, (nor 
could the Israelites ever cast the Canaanites out of Jerusalem until this time, 



when David took it by siege,) this whole time was five hundred and fifteen 
years. 

3. I shall now make mention of Araunah, who was a wealthy man among 
the Jebusites, but was not slain by David in the siege of Jerusalem, because of 
the good- will he bore to the Hebrews, and a particular benignity and affection 
which he had to the king himself; which I shall take a more seasonable 
opportunity to speak of a little afterwards. Now David married other wives over 
and above those which he had before: he had also concubines. The sons whom 
he had were in number eleven, whose names were Ammon, Emnos, Eban, 
Nathan, Solomon, Jeban, Elien, Phalna, Ennaphen, Jenae, Eliphale; and a 
daughter, Tamar. Nine of these were born of legitimate wives, but the two last- 
named of concubines; and Tamar had the same mother with Absalom. 

CHAPTER 4 

THAT WHEN DAVID HAD CONQUERED THE PHILISTINES WHO 
MADE WAR AGAINST HIM AT JERUSALEM, HE REMOVED THE ARK 
TO JERUSALEM AND HAD A MIND TO BUILD A TEMPLE 



1. When the Philistines understood that David was made king of the Hebrews, 
they made war against him at Jerusalem; and when they had seized upon that 
valley which is called The Valley of the Giants, and is a place not far from the 
city, they pitched their camp therein; but the king of the Jews, who never 
permitted himself to do any thing without prophecy, 6 and the command of God, 
and without depending on him as a security for the time to come, bade the high 
priest to foretell to him what was the will of God, and what would be the event 
of this battle. And when he foretold that he should gain the victory and the 
dominion, he led out his army against the Philistines; and when the battle was 
joined, he came himself behind, and fell upon the enemy on the sudden, and 
slew some of them, and put the rest to flight. And let no one suppose that it was 
a small army of the Philistines that came against the Hebrews, as guessing so 
from the suddenness of their defeat, and from their having performed no great 
action, or that was worth recording, from the slowness of their march, and want 
of courage; but let him know that all Syria and Phoenicia, with many other 
nations besides them, and those warlike nations also, came to their assistance, 
and had a share in this war, which thing was the only cause why, when they had 
been so often conquered, and had lost so many ten thousands of their men, they 
still came upon the Hebrews with greater armies; nay, indeed, when they had so 
often failed of their purpose in these battles, they came upon David with an 
army three times as numerous as before, and pitched their camp on the same 



spot of ground as before. The king of Israel therefore inquired of God again 
concerning the event of the battle; and the high priest prophesied to him, that he 
should keep his army in the groves, called the Groves of Weeping, which were 
not far from the enemy's camp, and that he should not move, nor begin to fight, 
till the trees of the grove should be in motion without the wind's blowing; but 
as soon as these trees moved, and the time foretold to him by God was come, 
he should, without delay, go out to gain what was an already prepared and 
evident victory; for the several ranks of the enemy's army did not sustain him, 
but retreated at the first onset, whom he closely followed, and slew them as he 
went along, and pursued them to the city Gaza (which is the limit of their 
country): after this he spoiled their camp, in which he found great riches; and 
he destroyed their gods. 

2. When this had proved the event of the battle, David thought it proper, 
upon a consultation with the elders, and rulers, and captains of thousands, to 
send for those that were in the flower of their age out of all his countrymen, and 
out of the whole land, and withal for the priests and the Levites, in order to 
their going to Kirjathjearim, to bring up the ark of God out of that city, and to 
carry it to Jerusalem, and there to keep it, and offer before it those sacrifices 
and those other honors with which God used to be well-pleased; for had they 
done thus in the reign of Saul, they had not undergone any great misfortunes at 
all. So when the whole body of the people were come together, as they had 
resolved to do, the king came to the ark, which the priest brought out of the 
house of Aminadab, and laid it upon a new cart, and permitted their brethren 
and their children to draw it, together with the oxen. Before it went the king, 
and the whole multitude of the people with him, singing hymns to God, and 
making use of all sorts of songs usual among them, with variety of the sounds 
of musical instruments, and with dancing and singing of psalms, as also with 
the sounds of trumpets and of cymbals, and so brought the ark to Jerusalem. 
But as they were come to the threshing-floor of Chidon, a place so called, 
Uzzah was slain by the anger of God; for as the oxen shook the ark, he 
stretched out his hand, and would needs take hold of it. Now, because he was 
not a priest, 7 and yet touched the ark, God struck him dead. Hereupon both the 
king and the people were displeased at the death of Uzzah; and the place where 
he died is still called the Breach of Uzzah unto this day. So David was afraid; 
and supposing that if he received the ark to himself into the city, he might 
suffer in the like manner as Uzzah had suffered, who, upon his bare putting out 
his hand to the ark, died in the manner already mentioned, he did not receive it 
to himself into the city, but he took it aside unto a certain place belonging to a 
righteous man, whose name was Obededom, who was by his family a Levite, 
and deposited the ark with him; and it remained there three entire months. This 
augmented the house of Obededom, and conferred many blessings upon it. And 



when the king heard what had befallen Obededom, how he was become, of a 
poor man in a low estate, exceeding happy, and the object of envy to all those 
that saw or inquired after his house, he took courage, and, hoping that he 
should meet with no misfortune thereby, he transferred the ark to his own 
house; the priests carrying it, while seven companies of singers, who were set 
in that order by the king, went before it, and while he himself played upon the 
harp, and joined in the music, insomuch, that when his wife Michal, the 
daughter of Saul, who was our first king, saw him so doing, she laughed at him. 
But when they had brought in the ark, they placed it under the tabernacle which 
David had pitched for it, and he offered costly sacrifices and peace-offerings, 
and treated the whole multitude, and dealt both to the women, and the men, and 
the infants a loaf of bread and a cake, and another cake baked in a pan, with the 
portion of the sacrifice. So when he had thus feasted the people, he sent them 
away, and he himself returned to his own house. 

3. But when Michal his wife, the daughter of Saul, came and stood by him, 
she wished him all other happiness, and entreated that whatsoever he should 
further desire, to the utmost possibility, might be given him by God, and that he 
might be favorable to him; yet did she blame him, that so great a king as he was 
should dance after an unseemly manner, and in his dancing, uncover himself 
among the servants and the handmaidens. But he replied, that he was not 
ashamed to do what was acceptable to God, who had preferred him before her 
father, and before all others; that he would play frequently, and dance, without 
any regard to what the handmaidens and she herself thought of it. So this 
Michal, who was David's wife, had no children; however, when she was 
afterward married to him to whom Saul her father had given her, (for at this 
time David had taken her away from him, and had her himself,) she bare five 
children. But concerning those matters I shall discourse in a proper place. 

4. Now when the king saw that his affairs grew better almost every day, by 
the will of God, he thought he should offend him, if, while he himself 
continued in houses made of cedar, such as were of a great height, and had the 
most curious works of architecture in them, he should overlook the ark while it 
was laid in a tabernacle, and was desirous to build a temple to God, as Moses 
had predicted such a temple should be built. 8 And when he had discoursed with 
Nathan the prophet about these things, and had been encouraged by him to do 
whatsoever he had a mind to do, as having God with him, and his helper in all 
things, he was thereupon the more ready to set about that building. But God 
appeared to Nathan that very night, and commanded him to say to David, 9 that 
he took his purpose and his desires kindly, since nobody had before now taken 
it into their head to build him a temple, although upon his having such a notion 
he would not permit him to build him that temple, because he had made many 
wars, and was defiled with the slaughter of his enemies; that, however, after his 



death, in his old age, and when he had lived a long life, there should be a 
temple built by a son of his, who should take the kingdom after him, and should 
be called Solomon, whom he promised to provide for, as a father provides for 
his son, by preserving the kingdom for his son's posterity, and delivering it to 
them; but that he would still punish him, if he sinned, with diseases and 
barrenness of land. When David understood this from the prophet, and was 
overjoyful at this knowledge of the sure continuance of the dominion to his 
posterity, and that his house should be splendid, and very famous, he came to 
the ark, and fell down on his face, and began to adore God, and to return thanks 
to him for all his benefits, as well for those that he had already bestowed upon 
him in raising him from a low state, and from the employment of a shepherd, to 
so great dignity of dominion and glory; as for those also which he had promised 
to his posterity; and besides, for that providence which he had exercised over 
the Hebrews in procuring them the liberty they enjoyed. And when he had said 
thus, and had sung a hymn of praise to God, he went his way. 

CHAPTER 5 

HOW DAVID BROUGHT UNDER THE PHILISTINES, AND THE 
MOABITES, AND THE KINGS OF SOPHENE, AND OF DAMASCUS, 
AND OF THE SYRIANS, AS ALSO THE IDUMEANS, IN WAR; AND HOW 
HE MADE A LEAGUE WITH THE KING OF HAMATH; AND WAS 
MINDFUL OF THE FRIENDSHIP THAT JONATHAN, THE SON OF SAUL, 
HAD BORNE TO HIM 



1. A little while after this, he considered that he ought to make war against the 
Philistines, and not to see any idleness or laziness permitted in his management, 
that so it might prove, as God had foretold to him, that when he had overthrown 
his enemies, he should leave his posterity to reign in peace afterward: so he 
called together his army again, and when he had charged them to be ready and 
prepared for war, and when he thought that all things in his army were in a 
good state, he removed from Jerusalem, and came against the Philistines; and 
when he had overcome them in battle, and had cut off a great part of their 
country, and adjoined it to the country of the Hebrews, he transferred the war to 
the Moabites; and when he had overcome two parts of their army in battle, he 
took the remaining part captive, and imposed tribute upon them, to be paid 
annually. He then made war against Hadadezer, the son of Rehob, king of 
Sophene; and when he had joined battle with him at the river Euphrates, he 
destroyed twenty thousand of his footmen, and about seven thousand of his 
horsemen. He also took a thousand of his chariots, and destroyed the greatest 



part of them, and ordered that no more than one hundred should be kept. 10 

2. Now when Hadad, 11 king of Damascus and of Syria, heard that David 
fought against Hadadezer, who was his friend, he came to his assistance with a 
powerful army, in hopes to rescue him; and when he had joined battle with 
David at the river Euphrates, he failed of his purpose, and lost in the battle a 
great number of his soldiers; for there were slain of the army of Hadad twenty 
thousand, and all the rest fled. Nicolaus also [of Damascus] makes mention of 
this king in the fourth book of his histories; where he speaks thus: "A great 
while after these things had happened, there was one of that country whose 
name was Hadad, who was become very potent; he reigned over Damascus, 
and, the other parts of Syria, excepting Phoenicia. He made war against David, 
the king of Judea, and tried his fortune in many battles, and particularly in the 
last battle at Euphrates, wherein he was beaten. He seemed to have been the 
most excellent of all their kings in strength and manhood," Nay, besides this, he 
says of his posterity, that "they succeeded one another in his kingdom, and in 
his name"; where he thus speaks: "When Hadad was dead, his posterity reigned 
for ten generations, each of his successors receiving from his father that his 
dominion, and this his name; as did the Ptolemies in Egypt. But the third was 
the most powerful of them all, and was willing to avenge the defeat his 
forefather had received; so he made an expedition against the Jews, and laid 
waste the city which is now called Samaria." Nor did he err from the truth; for 
this is that Hadad who made the expedition against Samaria, in the reign of 
Ahab, king of Israel, concerning whom we shall speak in due place hereafter. 

3. Now when David had made an expedition against Damascus, and the 
other parts of Syria, and had brought it all into subjection, and had placed 
garrisons in the country, and appointed that they should pay tribute, he returned 
home. He also dedicated to God at Jerusalem the golden quivers, the entire 
armor which the guards of Hadad used to wear; which Shishak, the king of 
Egypt, took away when he fought with David's grandson, Rehoboam, with a 
great deal of other wealth which he carried out of Jerusalem. However, these 
things will come to be explained in their proper places hereafter. Now as for the 
king of the Hebrews, he was assisted by God, who gave him great success in 
his wars, and he made all expedition against the best cities of Hadadezer, Betah 
and Machen; so he took them by force, and laid them waste. Therein was found 
a very great quantity of gold and silver, besides that sort of brass which is said 
to be more valuable than gold; of which brass Solomon made that large vessel 
which was called The [Brazen] Sea, and those most curious lavers, when he 
built the temple for God. 

4. But when the king of Hamath was informed of the ill success of 
Hadadezer, and had heard of the ruin of his army, he was afraid on his own 
account, and resolved to make a league of friendship and fidelity with David 



before he should come against him; so he sent to him his son Joram, and 
professed that he owed him thanks for fighting against Hadadezer, who was his 
enemy, and made a league with him of mutual assistance and friendship. He 
also sent him presents, vessels of ancient workmanship, both of gold, of silver, 
and of brass. So when David had made this league of mutual assistance with 
Toi, (for that was the name of the king of Hamath,) and had received the 
presents he sent him, he dismissed his son with that respect which was due on 
both sides; but then David brought those presents that were sent by him, as also 
the rest of the gold and silver which he had taken of the cities whom he had 
conquered, and dedicated them to God. Nor did God give victory and success 
to him only when he went to the battle himself, and led his own army, but he 
gave victory to Abishai, the brother of Joab, general of his forces, over the 
Idumeans, 12 and by him to David, when he sent him with an army into Idumea: 
for Abishai destroyed eighteen thousand of them in the battle; whereupon the 
king [of Israel] placed garrisons through all Idumea, and received the tribute of 
the country, and of every head among them. Now David was in his nature just, 
and made his determination with regard to truth. He had for the general of his 
whole army Joab; and he made Jehoshaphat, the son of Ahilud, recorder. He 
also appointed Zadok, of the family of Phinehas, to be high priest, together with 
Abiathar, for he was his friend. He also made Seisan the scribe, and committed 
the command over the guards of his body to Benaiah; the son of Jehoiada. His 
elder sons were near his body, and had the care of it also. 

5. He also called to mind the covenants and the oaths he had made with 
Jonathan, the son of Saul, and the friendship and affection Jonathan had for 
him; for besides all the rest of his excellent qualities with which he was 
endowed, he was also exceeding mindful of such as had at other times 
bestowed benefits upon him. He therefore gave order that inquiry should be 
made, whether any of Jonathan's lineage were living, to whom he might make 
return of that familiar acquaintance which Jonathan had had with him, and for 
which he was still debtor. And when one of Saul's freed men was brought to 
him, who was acquainted with those of his family that were still living, he 
asked him whether he could tell him of any one belonging to Jonathan that was 
now alive, and capable of a requital of the benefits which he had received from 
Jonathan. And he said, that a son of his was remaining, whose name was 
Mephibosheth, but that he was lame of his feet; for that when his nurse heard 
that the father and grandfather of the child were fallen in the battle, she 
snatched him up, and fled away, and let him fall from her shoulders, and his 
feet were lamed. So when he had learned where and by whom he was brought 
up, he sent messengers to Machir, to the city of Lodebar, for with him was the 
son of Jonathan brought up, and sent for him to come to him. So when 
Mephibosheth came to the king, he fell on his face and worshipped him; but 



David encouraged him, bade him be of good cheer, and expect better times. So 
he gave him his father's house, and all the estate which his grandfather Saul 
was in possession of, and bade him come and diet with him at his own table, 
and never to be absent one day from that table. And when the youth had 
worshipped him on account of his words and gifts given to him, he called for 
Ziba, and told him that he had given the youth his father's house, and all Saul's 
estate. He also ordered that Ziba should cultivate his land, and take care of it, 
and bring him the profits of all to Jerusalem. Accordingly, David brought him 
to his table every day, and bestowed upon the youth, Ziba and his sons, who 
were in number fifteen, and his servants, who were in number twenty. When 
the king had made these appointments, and Ziba had worshipped him, and 
promised to do all that he had bidden him, he went his way; so that this son of 
Jonathan dwelt at Jerusalem, and dieted at the king's table, and had the same 
care that a son could claim taken of him. He also had himself a son, whom he 
named Micha. 

CHAPTER 6 

HOW THE WAR WAS WAGED AGAINST THE AMMONITES AND 
HAPPILY CONCLUDED 



1. This were the honors that such as were left of Saul's and Jonathan's lineage 
received from David. About this time died Nahash, the king of the Ammonites, 
who was a friend of David's; and when his son had succeeded his father in the 
kingdom, David sent ambassadors to him to comfort him; and exhorted him to 
take his father's death patiently, and to expect that he would continue the same 
kindness to himself which he had shown to his father. But the princes of the 
Ammonites took this message in evil part, and not as David's kind dispositions 
gave reason to take it; and they excited the king to resent it; and said that David 
had sent men to spy out the country, and what strength it had, under the 
pretence of humanity and kindness. They further advised him to have a care, 
and not to give heed to David's words, lest he should be deluded by him, and so 
fall into an inconsolable calamity. Accordingly Nahash's [son], the king of the 
Ammonites, thought these princes spake what was more probable than the truth 
would admit, and so abused the ambassadors after a very harsh manner; for he 
shaved the one half of their beards, and cut off one half of their garments, and 
sent his answer, not in words, but in deeds. When the king of Israel saw this, he 
had indignation at it, and showed openly that he would not overlook this 
injurious and contumelious treatment, but would make war with the 
Ammonites, and would avenge this wicked treatment of his ambassadors on 



their king. So that king's intimate friends and commanders, understanding that 
they had violated their league, and were liable to be punished for the same, 
made preparations for war; they also sent a thousand talents to the Syrian king 
of Mesopotamia, and endeavored to prevail with him to assist them for that pay, 
and Shobach. Now these kings had twenty thousand footmen. They also hired 
the king of the country called Maacah, and a fourth king, by name Ishtob; 
which last had twelve thousand armed men. 

2. But David was under no consternation at this confederacy, nor at the 
forces of the Ammonites; and putting his trust in God, because he was going to 
war in a just cause, on account of the injurious treatment he had met with, he 
immediately sent Joab, the captain of his host, against them, and gave him the 
flower of his army, who pitched his camp by Rabbah, the metropolis of the 
Ammonites; whereupon the enemy came out, and set themselves in array, not 
all of them together, but in two bodies; for the auxiliaries were set in array in 
the plain by themselves, but the army of the Ammonites at the gates over 
against the Hebrews. When Joab saw this, he opposed one stratagem against 
another, and chose out the most hardy part of his men, and set them in 
opposition to the king of Syria, and the kings that were with him, and gave the 
other part to his brother Abishai, and bid him set them in opposition to the 
Ammonites; and said to him, that in case he should see that the Syrians 
distressed him, and were too hard for him, he should order his troops to turn 
about and assist him; and he said that he himself would do the same to him, if 
he saw him in the like distress from the Ammonites. So he sent his brother 
before, and encouraged him to do every thing courageously and with alacrity, 
which would teach them to be afraid of disgrace, and to fight manfully; and so 
he dismissed him to fight with the Ammonites, while he fell upon the Syrians. 
And though they made a strong opposition for a while, Joab slew many of 
them, but compelled the rest to betake themselves to flight; which, when the 
Ammonites saw, and were withal afraid of Abishai and his army, they staid no 
longer, but imitated their auxiliaries, and fled to the city. So Joab, when he had 
thus overcome the enemy, returned with great joy to Jerusalem to the king. 

3. This defeat did not still induce the Ammonites to be quiet, nor to own 
those that were superior to them to be so, and be still, but they sent to 
Chalaman, the king of the Syrians, beyond Euphrates, and hired him for an 
auxiliary. He had Shobach for the captain of his host, with eighty thousand 
footmen, and ten thousand horsemen. Now when the king of the Hebrews 
understood that the Ammonites had again gathered so great an army together, 
he determined to make war with them no longer by his generals, but he passed 
over the river Jordan himself with all his army; and when he met them he 
joined battle with them, and overcame them, and slew forty thousand of their 
footmen, and seven thousand of their horsemen. He also wounded Shobach, the 



general of Chalaman's forces, who died of that stroke; but the people of 
Mesopotamia, upon such a conclusion of the battle, delivered themselves up to 
David, and sent him presents, who at winter time returned to Jerusalem. But at 
the beginning of the spring he sent Joab, the captain of his host, to fight against 
the Ammonites, who overran all their country, and laid it waste, and shut them 
up in their metropolis Rabbah, and besieged them therein. 

CHAPTER 7 

HOW DAVID FELL IN LOVE WITH B ATHSHEB A, AND SLEW HER 
HUSBAND URIAH, FOR WHICH HE IS REPROVED BY NATHAN 



1. But David fell now into a very grievous sin, though he were otherwise 
naturally a righteous and a religious man, and one that firmly observed the laws 
of our fathers; for when late in an evening he took a view round him from the 
roof of his royal palace, where he used to walk at that hour, he saw a woman 
washing herself in her own house: she was one of extraordinary beauty, and 
therein surpassed all other women; her name was Bathsheba. So he was 
overcome by that woman's beauty, and was not able to restrain his desires, but 
sent for her, and lay with her. Hereupon she conceived with child, and sent to 
the king, that he should contrive some way for concealing her sin (for, 
according to the laws of their fathers, she who had been guilty of adultery 
ought to be put to death). So the king sent for Joab's armor-bearer from the 
siege, who was the woman's husband, and his name was Uriah. And when he 
was come, the king inquired of him about the army, and about the siege; and 
when he had made answer that all their affairs went according to their wishes, 
the king took some portions of meat from his supper, and gave them to him, 
and bade him go home to his wife, and take his rest with her. Uriah did not do 
so, but slept near the king with the rest of his armor-bearers. When the king was 
informed of this, he asked him why he did not go home to his house, and to his 
wife, after so long an absence; which is the natural custom of all men, when 
they come from a long journey. He replied, that it was not right, while his 
fellow soldiers, and the general of the army, slept upon the ground, in the camp, 
and in an enemy's country, that he should go and take his rest, and solace 
himself with his wife. So when he had thus replied, the king ordered him to 
stay there that night, that he might dismiss him the next day to the general. So 
the king invited Uriah to supper, and after a cunning and dexterous manner 
plied him with drink at supper, till he was thereby disordered; yet did he 
nevertheless sleep at the king's gates without any inclination to go to his wife. 
Upon this the king was very angry at him; and wrote to Joab, and commanded 



him to punish Uriah, for he told him that he had offended him; and he 
suggested to him the manner in which he would have him punished, that it 
might not be discovered that he was himself the author of this his punishment; 
for he charged him to set him over against that part of the enemy's army where 
the attack would be most hazardous, and where he might be deserted, and be in 
the greatest jeopardy, for he bade him order his fellow soldiers to retire out of 
the fight. When he had written thus to him, and sealed the letter with his own 
seal, he gave it to Uriah to carry to Joab. When Joab had received it, and upon 
reading it understood the king's purpose, he set Uriah in that place where he 
knew the enemy would be most troublesome to them; and gave him for his 
partners some of the best soldiers in the army; and said that he would also come 
to their assistance with the whole army, that if possible they might break down 
some part of the wall, and enter the city. And he desired him to be glad of the 
opportunity of exposing himself to such great pains, and not to be displeased at 
it, since he was a valiant soldier, and had a great reputation for his valor, both 
with the king and with his countrymen. And when Uriah undertook the work he 
was set upon with alacrity, he gave private orders to those who were to be his 
companions, that when they saw the enemy make a sally, they should leave 
him. When, therefore, the Hebrews made an attack upon the city, the 
Ammonites were afraid that the enemy might prevent them, and get up into the 
city, and this at the very place whither Uriah was ordered; so they exposed their 
best soldiers to be in the forefront, and opened their gates suddenly, and fell 
upon the enemy with great vehemence, and ran violently upon them. When 
those that were with Uriah saw this, they all retreated backward, as Joab had 
directed them beforehand; but Uriah, as ashamed to run away and leave his 
post, sustained the enemy, and receiving the violence of their onset, he slew 
many of them; but being encompassed round, and caught in the midst of them, 
he was slain, and some other of his companions were slain with him. 

2. When this was done, Joab sent messengers to the king, and ordered them 
to tell him that he did what he could to take the city soon; but that, as they 
made an assault on the wall, they had been forced to retire with great loss; and 
bade them, if they saw the king was angry at it, to add this, that Uriah was slain 
also. When the king had heard this of the messengers, he took it heinously, and 
said that they did wrong when they assaulted the wall, whereas they ought, by 
undermining and other stratagems of war, to endeavor the taking of the city, 
especially when they had before their eyes the example of Abimelech, the son 
of Gideon, who would needs take the tower in Thebes by force, and was killed 
by a large stone thrown at him by an old woman; and although he was a man of 
great prowess, he died ignominiously by the dangerous manner of his assault: 
that they should remember this accident, and not come near the enemy's wall, 
for that the best method of making war with success was to call to mind the 



accidents of former wars, and what good or bad success had attended them in 
the like dangerous cases, that so they might imitate the one, and avoid the other. 
But when the king was in this disposition, the messenger told him that Uriah 
was slain also; whereupon he was pacified. So he bade the messenger go back 
to Joab and tell him that this misfortune is no other than what is common 
among mankind, and that such is the nature, and such the accidents of war, 
insomuch that sometimes the enemy will have success therein, and sometimes 
others; but that he ordered him to go on still in his care about the siege, that no 
ill accident might befall him in it hereafter; that they should raise bulwarks and 
use machines in besieging the city; and when they have gotten it, to overturn its 
very foundations, and to destroy all those that are in it. Accordingly the 
messenger carried the king's message with which he was charged, and made 
haste to Joab. But Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, when she was informed of the 
death of her husband, mourned for his death many days; and when her 
mourning was over, and the tears which she shed for Uriah were dried up, the 
king took her to wife presently; and a son was born to him by her. 

3. With this marriage God was not well pleased, but was thereupon angry at 
David; and he appeared to Nathan the prophet in his sleep, and complained of 
the king. Now Nathan was a fair and prudent man; and considering that kings, 
when they fall into a passion, are guided more by that passion than they are by 
justice, he resolved to conceal the threatenings that proceeded from God, and 
made a good-natured discourse to him, and this after the manner following: — 
He desired that the king would give him his opinion in the following case: 
— "There were," said he, "two men inhabiting the same city, the one of them 
was rich, and [the other poor]. The rich man had a great many flocks of cattle, 
of sheep, and of kine; but the poor man had but one ewe lamb. This he brought 
up with his children, and let her eat her food with them; and he had the same 
natural affection for her which any one might have for a daughter. Now upon 
the coming of a stranger to the rich man, he would not vouchsafe to kill any of 
his own flocks, and thence feast his friend; but he sent for the poor man's lamb, 
and took her away from him, and made her ready for food, and thence feasted 
the stranger." This discourse troubled the king exceedingly; and he denounced 
to Nathan, that "this man was a wicked man who could dare to do such a thing; 
and that it was but just that he should restore the lamb fourfold, and be 
punished with death for it also." Upon this Nathan immediately said that he was 
himself the man who ought to suffer those punishments, and that by his own 
sentence; and that it was he who had perpetrated this great and horrid crime. He 
also revealed to him, and laid before him, the anger of God against him, who 
had made him king over the army of the Hebrews, and lord of all the nations, 
and those many and great nations round about him; who had formerly delivered 
him out of the hands of Saul, and had given him such wives as he had justly 



and legally married; and now this God was despised by him, and affronted by 
his impiety, when he had married, and now had, another man's wife; and by 
exposing her husband to the enemy, had really slain him; that God would inflict 
punishments upon him on account of those instances of wickedness; that his 
own wives should be forced by one of his sons; and that he should be 
treacherously supplanted by the same son; and that although he had perpetrated 
his wickedness secretly, yet should that punishment which he was to undergo 
be inflicted publicly upon him; "that, moreover," said he, "the child which was 
born to thee of her shall soon die." When the king was troubled at these 
messages, and sufficiently confounded, and said with tears and sorrow that he 
had sinned, (for he was without controversy a pious man, and guilty of no sin at 
all in his whole life, excepting those in the matter of Uriah,) God had 
compassion on him, and was reconciled to him, and promised that he would 
preserve to him both his life and his kingdom; for he said that, seeing he 
repented of the things he had done, he was no longer displeased with him. So 
Nathan, when he had delivered this prophecy to the king, returned home. 

4. However, God sent a dangerous distemper upon the child that was born 
to David of the wife of Uriah, at which the king was troubled, and did not take 
any food for seven days, although his servants almost forced him to take it; but 
he clothed himself in a black garment, and fell down, and lay upon the ground 
in sackcloth, entrusting God for the recovery of the child, for he vehemently 
loved the child's mother; but when, on the seventh day, the child was dead, the 
king's servants durst not tell him of it, as supposing that when he knew it, he 
would still less admit of food, and other care of himself, by reason of his grief 
at the death of his son, since when the child was only sick, he so greatly 
afflicted himself, and grieved for him: but when the king perceived that his 
servants were in disorder, and seemed to be affected, as those who are very 
desirous to conceal something, he understood that the child was dead; and 
when he had called one of his servants to him, and discovered that so it was, he 
arose up and washed himself, and took a white garment, and came into the 
tabernacle of God. He also commanded them to set supper before him, and 
thereby greatly surprised his kindred and servants, while he did nothing of this 
when the child was sick, but did it all when he was dead. Whereupon having 
first begged leave to ask him a question, they besought him to tell them the 
reason of this his conduct; he then called them unskilful people, and instructed 
them how he had hopes of the recovery of the child while it was alive, and 
accordingly did all that was proper for him to do, as thinking by such means to 
render God propitious to him; but that when the child was dead, there was no 
longer any occasion for grief, which was then to no purpose. When he had said 
this, they commended the king's wisdom and understanding. He then went in 
unto Bathsheba his wife, and she conceived and bare a son; and by the 



command of Nathan the prophet called his name Solomon. 

5. But Joab sorely distressed the Ammonites in the siege, by cutting off 
their waters, and depriving them of other means of subsistence, till they were in 
the greatest want of meat and drink, for they depended only on one small well 
of water, and this they durst not drink of too freely, lest the fountain should 
entirely fail them. So he wrote to the king, and informed him thereof; and 
persuaded him to come himself to take the city, that he might have the honor of 
the victory. Upon this letter of Joab's, the king accepted of his good-will and 
fidelity, and took with him his army, and came to the destruction of Rabbah; 
and when he had taken it by force, he gave it to his soldiers to plunder it; but he 
himself took the king of the Ammonites' crown, whose weight was a talent of 
gold; 13 and it had in its middle a precious stone called a sardonyx; which crown 
David ever after wore on his own head. He also found many other vessels in the 
city, and those both splendid and of great price; but as for the men, he 
tormented them, 14 and then destroyed them; and when he had taken the other 
cities of the Ammonites by force, he treated them after the same manner. 

CHAPTER 8 

HOW ABSALOM MURDERED AMNON, WHO HAD FORCED HIS OWN 
SISTER; AND HOW HE WAS BANISHED AND AFTERWARDS 
RECALLED BY DAVID 



1. When the king was returned to Jerusalem, a sad misfortune befell his house, 
on the occasion following: He had a daughter, who was yet a virgin, and very 
handsome, insomuch that she surpassed all the most beautiful women; her 
name was Tamar; she had the same mother with Absalom. Now Amnon, 
David's eldest son, fell in love with her, and being not able to obtain his desires, 
on account of her virginity, and the custody she was under, was so much out of 
order, nay, his grief so ate up his body, that he grew lean, and his color was 
changed. Now there was one Gonad, a kinsman and friend of his, who 
discovered this his passion, for he was an extraordinary wise man, and of great 
sagacity of mind. When, therefore, he saw that every morning Amnon was not 
in body as he ought to be, he came to him, and desired him to tell him what was 
the cause of it: however, he said that he guessed that it arose from the passion 
of love. Amnon confessed his passion, that he was in love with a sister of his, 
who had the same father with himself. So Gonad suggested to him by what 
method and contrivance he might obtain his desires; for he persuaded him to 
pretend sickness, and bade him, when his father should come to him, to beg of 
him that his sister might come and minister to him; for if that were done, he 



should be better, and should quickly recover from his distemper. So Amnon lay 
down on his bed, and pretended to be sick, as Gonad had suggested. When his 
father came, and inquired how he did, he begged of him to send his sister to 
him. Accordingly, he presently ordered her to be brought to him; and when she 
was come, Amnon bade her make cakes for him, and fry them in a pan, and do 
it all with her own hands, because he should take them better from her hand 
[than from any one's else]. So she kneaded the flour in the sight of her brother, 
and made him cakes, and baked them in a pan, and brought them to him; but at 
that time he would not taste them, but gave order to his servants to send all that 
were there out of his chamber, because he had a mind to repose himself, free 
from tumult and disturbance. As soon as what he had commanded was done, he 
desired his sister to bring his supper to him into the inner parlor; which, when 
the damsel had done, he took hold of her, and endeavored to persuade her to lie 
with him. Whereupon the damsel cried out, and said, "Nay, brother, do not 
force me, nor be so wicked as to transgress the laws, and bring upon thyself the 
utmost confusion. Curb this thy unrighteous and impure lust, from which our 
house will get nothing but reproach and disgrace." She also advised him to 
speak to his father about this affair; for he would permit him [to marry her]. 
This she said, as desirous to avoid her brother's violent passion at present. But 
he would not yield to her; but, inflamed with love and blinded with the 
vehemency of his passion, he forced his sister: but as soon as Amnon had 
satisfied his lust, he hated her immediately, and giving her reproachful words, 
bade her rise up and be gone. And when she said that this was a more injurious 
treatment than the former, if, now he had forced her, he would not let her stay 
with him till the evening, but bid her go away in the day-time, and while it was 
light, that she might meet with people that would be witnesses of her shame, — 
he commanded his servant to turn her out of his house. Whereupon she was 
sorely grieved at the injury and violence that had been offered to her, and rent 
her loose coat, (for the virgins of old time wore such loose coats tied at the 
hands, and let down to the ankles, that the inner coats might not be seen,) and 
sprinkled ashes on her head; and went up the middle of the city, crying out and 
lamenting for the violence that had been offered her. Now Absalom, her 
brother, happened to meet her, and asked her what sad thing had befallen her, 
that she was in that plight; and when she had told him what injury had been 
offered her, he comforted her, and desired her to be quiet, and take all patiently, 
and not to esteem her being corrupted by her brother as an injury. So she 
yielded to his advice, and left off her crying out, and discovering the force 
offered her to the multitude; and she continued as a widow with her brother 
Absalom a long time. 

2. When David his father knew this, he was grieved at the actions of 
Amnon; but because he had an extraordinary affection for him, for he was his 



eldest son, he was compelled not to afflict him; but Absalom watched for a fit 
opportunity of revenging this crime upon him, for he thoroughly hated him. 
Now the second year after this wicked affair about his sister was over, and 
Absalom was about to go to shear his own sheep at Baalhazor, which is a city 
in the portion of Ephraim, he besought his father, as well as his brethren, to 
come and feast with him: but when David excused himself, as not being willing 
to be burdensome to him, Absalom desired he would however send his 
brethren; whom he did send accordingly. Then Absalom charged his own 
servants, that when they should see Amnon disordered and drowsy with wine, 
and he should give them a signal, they should fear nobody, but kill him. 

3. When they had done as they were commanded, the rest of his brethren 
were astonished and disturbed, and were afraid for themselves, so they 
immediately got on horseback, and rode away to their father; but somebody 
there was who prevented them, and told their father they were all slain by 
Absalom; whereupon he was overcome with sorrow, as for so many of his sons 
that were destroyed at once, and that by their brother also; and by this 
consideration, that it was their brother that appeared to have slain them, he 
aggravated his sorrow for them. So he neither inquired what was the cause of 
this slaughter, nor staid to hear any thing else, which yet it was but reasonable 
to have done, when so very great, and by that greatness so incredible, a 
misfortune was related to him: he rent his clothes and threw himself upon the 
ground, and there lay lamenting the loss of all his sons, both those who, as he 
was informed, were slain, and of him who slew them. But Gonad, the son of his 
brother Shemeah, entreated him not to indulge his sorrow so far, for as to the 
rest of his sons he did not believe that they were slain, for he found no cause for 
such a suspicion; but he said it might deserve inquiry as to Amnon, for it was 
not unlikely that Absalom might venture to kill him on account of the injury he 
had offered to Tamar. In the mean time, a great noise of horses, and a tumult of 
some people that were coming, turned their attention to them; they were the 
king's sons, who were fled away from the feast. So their father met them as 
they were in their grief, and he himself grieved with them; but it was more than 
he expected to see those his sons again, whom he had a little before heard to 
have perished. However, there were tears on both sides; they lamenting their 
brother who was killed, and the king lamenting his son, who was killed also; 
but Absalom fled to Geshur, to his grandfather by his mother's side, who was 
king of that country, and he remained with him three whole years. 

4. Now David had a design to send to Absalom, not that he should come to 
be punished, but that he might be with him, for the effects of his anger were 
abated by length of time. It was Joab, the captain of his host, that chiefly 
persuaded him so to do; for he suborned an ordinary woman, that was stricken 
in age, to go to the king in mourning apparel, who said thus to him: — That two 



of her sons, in a coarse way, had some difference between them, and that in the 
progress of that difference they came to an open quarrel, and that one was 
smitten by the other, and was dead; and she desired him to interpose in this 
case, and to do her the favor to save this her son from her kindred, who were 
very zealous to have him that had slain his brother put to death, that so she 
might not be further deprived of the hopes she had of being taken care of in her 
old age by him; and that if he would hinder this slaughter of her son by those 
that wished for it, he would do her a great favor, because the kindred would not 
be restrained from their purpose by any thing else than by the fear of him. And 
when the king had given his consent to what the woman had begged of him, she 
made this reply to him: — "I owe thee thanks for thy benignity to me in pitying 
my old age, and preventing the loss of my only remaining child; but in order to 
assure me of this thy kindness, be first reconciled to thine own son, and cease 
to be angry with him; for how shall I persuade myself that thou hast really 
bestowed this favor upon me, while thou thyself continuest after the like 
manner in thy wrath to thine own son? for it is a foolish thing to add willfully 
another to thy dead son, while the death of the other was brought about without 
thy consent." And now the king perceived that this pretended story was a 
subornation derived from Joab, and was of his contrivance; and when, upon 
inquiry of the old woman, he understood it to be so in reality, he called for 
Joab, and told him he had obtained what he requested according to his own 
mind; and he bid him bring Absalom back, for he was not now displeased, but 
had already ceased to be angry with him. So Joab bowed himself down to the 
king, and took his words kindly, and went immediately to Geshur, and took 
Absalom with him, and came to Jerusalem. 

5. However, the king sent a message to his son beforehand, as he was 
coming, and commanded him to retire to his own house, for he was not yet in 
such a disposition as to think fit at present to see him. Accordingly, upon the 
father's command, he avoided coming into his presence, and contented himself 
with the respects paid him by his own family only. Now his beauty was not 
impaired, either by the grief he had been under, or by the want of such care as 
was proper to be taken of a king's son, for he still surpassed and excelled all 
men in the tallness of his body, and was more eminent [in a fine appearance] 
than those that dieted the most luxuriously; and indeed such was the thickness 
of the hair of his head, that it was with difficulty that he was polled every 
eighth day; and his hair weighed two hundred shekels, 15 which are five pounds. 
However, he dwelt in Jerusalem two years, and became the father of three sons, 
and one daughter; which daughter was of very great beauty, and which 
Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, took to wife afterward, and had by her a son 
named Abijah. But Absalom sent to Joab, and desired him to pacify his father 
entirely towards him; and to beseech him to give him leave to come to him to 



see him, and speak with him. But when Joab neglected so to do, he sent some 
of his own servants, and set fire to the field adjoining to him; which, when Joab 
understood, he came to Absalom, and accused him of what he had done; and 
asked him the reason why he did so. To which Absalom replied, that "I have 
found out this stratagem that might bring thee to us, while thou hast taken no 
care to perform the injunction I laid upon thee, which was this, to reconcile my 
father to me; and I really beg it of thee, now thou art here, to pacify my father 
as to me, since I esteem my coming hither to be more grievous than my 
banishment, while my father's wrath against me continues." Hereby Joab was 
persuaded, and pitied the distress that Absalom was in, and became an 
intercessor with the king for him. And when he had discoursed with his father, 
he soon brought him to that amicable disposition towards Absalom, that he 
presently sent for him to come to him; and when he had cast himself down 
upon the ground, and had begged for the forgiveness of his offenses, the king 
raised him up, and promised him to forget what he had formerly done. 

CHAPTER 9 

CONCERNING THE INSURRECTION OF ABSALOM AGAINST DAVID; 
AND CONCERNING AHITHOPHEL AND HUSHAI; AND CONCERNING 
ZIBA AND SHIMEI; AND HOW AHITHOPHEL HANGED HIMSELF 



1. Now Absalom, upon this his success with the king, procured to himself a 
great many horses, and many chariots, and that in a little time also. He had 
moreover fifty armor-bearers that were about him; and he came early every day 
to the king's palace, and spake what was agreeable to such as came for justice 
and lost their causes, as if that happened for want of good counselors about the 
king, or perhaps because the judges mistook in that unjust sentence they gave; 
whereby he gained the good- will of them all. He told them, that had he but such 
authority committed to him, he would distribute justice to them in a most 
equitable manner. When he had made himself so popular among the multitude, 
he thought he had already the good-will of the people secured to him; but when 
four years 16 had passed since his father's reconciliation to him, he came to him, 
and besought him to give him leave to go to Hebron, and pay a sacrifice to 
God, because he vowed it to him when he fled out of the country. So when 
David had granted his request, he went thither, and great multitudes came 
running together to him, for he had sent to a great number so to do. 

2. Among them came Ahithophel the Gilonite, a counsellor of David's, and 
two hundred men out of Jerusalem itself, who knew not his intentions, but were 
sent for as to a sacrifice. So he was appointed king by all of them, which he 



obtained by this stratagem. As soon as this news was brought to David, and he 
was informed of what he did not expect from his son, he was affrighted at this 
his impious and bold undertaking, and wondered that he was so far from 
remembering how his offense had been so lately forgiven him, that he 
undertook much worse and more wicked enterprises; first, to deprive him of 
that kingdom which was given him of God; and secondly, to take away his own 
father's life. He therefore resolved to fly to the parts beyond Jordan: so he 
called his most intimate friends together, and communicated to them all that he 
had heard of his son's madness. He committed himself to God, to judge 
between them about all their actions; and left the care of his royal palace to his 
ten concubines, and went away from Jerusalem, being willingly accompanied 
by the rest of the multitude, who went hastily away with him, and particularly 
by those six hundred armed men, who had been with him from his first flight in 
the days of Saul. But he persuaded Abiathar and Zadok, the high priests, who 
had determined to go away with him, as also all the Levites, who were with the 
ark, to stay behind, as hoping that God would deliver him without its removal; 
but he charged them to let him know privately how all things went on; and he 
had their sons, Ahimaaz the son of Zadok, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar, for 
faithful ministers in all things; but Ittai the Gittite went out with him whether 
David would let him or not, for he would have persuaded him to stay, and on 
that account he appeared the more friendly to him. But as he was ascending the 
Mount of Olives barefooted, and all his company were in tears, it was told him 
that Ahithophel was with Absalom, and was of his side. This hearing 
augmented his grief; and he besought God earnestly to alienate the mind of 
Absalom from Ahithophel, for he was afraid that he should persuade him to 
follow his pernicious counsel, for he was a prudent man, and very sharp in 
seeing what was advantageous. When David was gotten upon the top of the 
mountain, he took a view of the city; and prayed to God with abundance of 
tears, as having already lost his kingdom; and here it was that a faithful friend 
of his, whose name was Hushai, met him. When David saw him with his 
clothes rent, and having ashes all over his head, and in lamentation for the great 
change of affairs, he comforted him, and exhorted him to leave off grieving; 
nay, at length he besought him to go back to Absalom, and appear as one of his 
party, and to fish out the secretest counsels of his mind, and to contradict the 
counsels of Ahithophel, for that he could not do him so much good by being 
with him as he might by being with Absalom. So he was prevailed on by David, 
and left him, and came to Jerusalem, whither Absalom himself came also a 
little while afterward. 

3. When David was gone a little farther, there met him Ziba, the servant of 
Mephibosheth, (whom he had sent to take care of the possessions which had 
been given him, as the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul,) with a couple of asses, 



loaden with provisions, and desired him to take as much of them as he and his 
followers stood in need of. And when the king asked him where he had left 
Mephibosheth, he said he had left him in Jerusalem, expecting to be chosen 
king in the present confusions, in remembrance of the benefits Saul had 
conferred upon them. At this the king had great indignation, and gave to Ziba 
all that he had formerly bestowed on Mephibosheth; for he determined that it 
was much fitter that he should have them than the other; at which Ziba greatly 
rejoiced. 

4. When David was at Bahurim, a place so called, there came out a kinsman 
of Saul's, whose name was Shimei, and threw stones at him, and gave him 
reproachful words; and as his friends stood about the king and protected him, 
he persevered still more in his reproaches, and called him a bloody man, and 
the author of all sorts of mischief. He bade him also go out of the land as an 
impure and accursed wretch; and he thanked God for depriving him of his 
kingdom, and causing him to be punished for what injuries he had done to his 
master [Saul], and this by the means of his own son. Now when they were all 
provoked against him, and angry at him, and particularly Abishai, who had a 
mind to kill Shimei, David restrained his anger. "Let us not," said he, "bring 
upon ourselves another fresh misfortune to those we have already, for truly I 
have not the least regard nor concern for this dog that raves at me: I submit 
myself to God, by whose permission this man treats me in such a wild manner; 
nor is it any wonder that I am obliged to undergo these abuses from him, while 
I experience the like from an impious son of my own; but perhaps God will 
have some commiseration upon us; if it be his will we shall overcome them." 
So he went on his way without troubling himself with Shimei, who ran along 
the other side of the mountain, and threw out his abusive language plentifully. 
But when David was come to Jordan, he allowed those that were with him to 
refresh themselves; for they were weary. 

5. But when Absalom, and Ahithophel his counselor, were come to 
Jerusalem, with all the people, David's friend, Hushai, came to them; and when 
he had worshipped Absalom, he withal wished that his kingdom might last a 
long time, and continue for all ages. But when Absalom said to him, "How 
comes this, that he who was so intimate a friend of my father's, and appeared 
faithful to him in all things, is not with him now, but hath left him, and is come 
over to me?" Hushai's answer was very pertinent and prudent; for he said, "We 
ought to follow God and the multitude of the people; while these, therefore, my 
lord and master, are with thee, it is fit that I should follow them, for thou hast 
received the kingdom from God. I will therefore, if thou believest me to be thy 
friend, show the same fidelity and kindness to thee, which thou knowest I have 
shown to thy father; nor is there any reason to be in the least dissatisfied with 
the present state of affairs, for the kingdom is not transferred into another, but 



remains still in the same family, by the son's receiving it after his father." This 
speech persuaded Absalom, who before suspected Hushai. And now he called 
Ahithophel, and consulted with him what he ought to do: he persuaded him to 
go in unto his father's concubines; for he said that "by this action the people 
would believe that thy difference with thy father is irreconcilable, and will 
thence fight with great alacrity against thy father, for hitherto they are afraid of 
taking up open enmity against him, out of an expectation that you will be 
reconciled again." Accordingly, Absalom was prevailed on by this advice, and 
commanded his servants to pitch him a tent upon the top of the royal palace, in 
the sight of the multitude; and he went in and lay with his father's concubines. 
Now this came to pass according to the prediction of Nathan, when he 
prophesied and signified to him that his son would rise up in rebellion against 
him. 

6. And when Absalom had done what he was advised to by Ahithophel, he 
desired his advice, in the second place, about the war against his father. Now 
Ahithophel only asked him to let him have ten thousand chosen men, and he 
promised he would slay his father, and bring the soldiers back again in safety; 
and he said that then the kingdom would be firm to him when David was dead 
[but not otherwise]. Absalom was pleased with this advice, and called for 
Hushai, David's friend (for so did he style him); and informing him of the 
opinion of Ahithophel, he asked, further, what was his opinion concerning that 
matter. Now he was sensible that if Ahithophel's counsel were followed, David 
would be in danger of being seized on, and slain; so he attempted to introduce a 
contrary opinion, and said, "Thou art not unacquainted, O king, with the valor 
of thy father, and of those that are now with him; that he hath made many wars, 
and hath always come off with victory, though probably he now abides in the 
camp, for he is very skilful in stratagems, and in foreseeing the deceitful tricks 
of his enemies; yet will he leave his own soldiers in the evening, and will either 
hide himself in some valley, or will place an ambush at some rock; so that when 
our army joins battle with him, his soldiers will retire for a little while, but will 
come upon us again, as encouraged by the king's being near them; and in the 
mean time your father will show himself suddenly in the time of the battle, and 
will infuse courage into his own people when they are in danger, but bring 
consternation to thine. Consider, therefore, my advice, and reason upon it, and 
if thou canst not but acknowledge it to be the best, reject the opinion of 
Ahithophel. Send to the entire country of the Hebrews, and order them to come 
and fight with thy father; and do thou thyself take the army, and be thine own 
general in this war, and do not trust its management to another; then expect to 
conquer him with ease, when thou overtakest him openly with his few 
partisans, but hast thyself many ten thousands, who will be desirous to 
demonstrate to thee their diligence and alacrity. And if thy father shall shut 



himself up in some city, and bear a siege, we will overthrow that city with 
machines of war, and by undermining it." When Hushai had said this, he 
obtained his point against Ahithophel, for his opinion was preferred by 
Absalom before the other's; however, it was no other than God 17 who made the 
counsel of Hushai appear best to the mind of Absalom. 

7. So Hushai made haste to the high priests, Zadok and Abiathar, and told 
them the opinion of Ahithophel, and his own, and that the resolution was taken 
to follow this latter advice. He therefore bade them send to David, and tell him 
of it, and to inform him of the counsels that had been taken; and to desire him 
further to pass quickly over Jordan, lest his son should change his mind, and 
make haste to pursue him, and so prevent him, and seize upon him before he be 
in safety. Now the high priests had their sons concealed in a proper place out of 
the city, that they might carry news to David of what was transacted. 
Accordingly, they sent a maid- servant, whom they could trust, to them, to carry 
the news of Absalom's counsels, and ordered them to signify the same to David 
with all speed. So they made no excuse nor delay, but taking along with them 
their fathers' injunctions, because pious and faithful ministers, and judging that 
quickness and suddenness was the best mark of faithful service, they made 
haste to meet with David. But certain horsemen saw them when they were two 
furlongs from the city, and informed Absalom of them, who immediately sent 
some to take them; but when the sons of the high priest perceived this, they 
went out of the road, and betook themselves to a certain village; that village 
was called Bahurim; there they desired a certain woman to hide them, and 
afford them security. Accordingly she let the young men down by a rope into a 
well, and laid fleeces of wool over them; and when those that pursued them 
came to her, and asked her whether she saw them, she did not deny that she had 
seen them, for that they staid with her some time, but she said they then went 
their ways; and she foretold that, however, if they would follow them directly, 
they would catch them; but when after a long pursuit they could not catch them, 
they came back again; and when the woman saw those men were returned, and 
that there was no longer any fear of the young men's being caught by them, she 
drew them up by the rope, and bade them go on their journey accordingly, they 
used great diligence in the prosecution of that journey, and came to David, and 
informed him accurately of all the counsels of Absalom. So he commanded 
those that were with him to pass over Jordan while it was night, and not to 
delay at all on that account. 

8. But Ahithophel, on rejection of his advice, got upon his ass, and rode 
away to his own country, Gilon; and, calling his family together, he told them 
distinctly what advice he had given Absalom; and since he had not been 
persuaded by it, he said he would evidently perish, and this in no long time, and 
that David would overcome him, and return to his kingdom again; so he said it 



was better that he should take his own life away with freedom and 
magnanimity, than expose himself to be punished by David, in opposition to 
whom he had acted entirely for Absalom. When he had discoursed thus to them, 
he went into the inmost room of his house, and hanged himself; and thus was 
the death of Ahithophel, who was self-condemned; and when his relations had 
taken him down from the halter, they took care of his funeral. Now, as for 
David, he passed over Jordan, as we have said already, and came to Mahanaim, 
a very fine and very strong city; and all the chief men of the country received 
him with great pleasure, both out of the shame they had that he should be 
forced to flee away [from Jerusalem], and out of the respect they bare him 
while he was in his former prosperity. These were Barzillai the Gileadite, and 
Siphar the ruler among the Ammonites, and Machir the principal man of 
Gilead; and these furnished him with plentiful provisions for himself and his 
followers, insomuch that they wanted no beds nor blankets for them, nor loaves 
of bread, nor wine; nay, they brought them a great many cattle for slaughter, 
and afforded them what furniture they wanted for their refreshment when they 
were weary, and for food, with plenty of other necessaries. 

CHAPTER 10 

HOW, WHEN ABSALOM WAS BEATEN, HE WAS CAUGHT IN A TREE 
BY HIS HAIR AND WAS SLAIN 



1. And this was the state of David and his followers: but Absalom got together 
a vast army of the Hebrews to oppose his father, and passed therewith over the 
river Jordan, and sat down not far off Mahanaim, in the country of Gilead. He 
appointed Amasa to be captain of all his host, instead of Joab his kinsman: his 
father was Ithra and his mother Abigail: now she and Zeruiah, the mother of 
Joab, were David's sisters. But when David had numbered his followers, and 
found them to be about four thousand, he resolved not to tarry till Absalom 
attacked him, but set over his men captains of thousands, and captains of 
hundreds, and divided his army into three parts; the one part he committed to 
Joab, the next to Abishai, Joab's brother, and the third to Ittai, David's 
companion and friend, but one that came from the city Gath; and when he was 
desirous of fighting himself among them, his friends would not let him: and this 
refusal of theirs was founded upon very wise reasons: "For," said they, "if we 
be conquered when he is with us, we have lost all good hopes of recovering 
ourselves; but if we should be beaten in one part of our army, the other parts 
may retire to him, and may thereby prepare a greater force, while the enemy 
will naturally suppose that he hath another army with him." So David was 



pleased with this their advice, and resolved himself to tarry at Mahanaim; and 
as he sent his friends and commanders to the battle, he desired them to show all 
possible alacrity and fidelity, and to bear in mind what advantages they had 
received from him, which, though they had not been very great, yet had they 
not been quite inconsiderable; and he begged of them to spare the young man 
Absalom, lest some mischief should befall himself, if he should be killed; and 
thus did he send out his army to the battle, and wished them victory therein. 

2. Then did Joab put his army in battle-array over against the enemy in the 
Great Plain, where he had a wood behind him. Absalom also brought his army 
into the field to oppose him. Upon the joining of the battle, both sides showed 
great actions with their hands and their boldness; the one side exposing 
themselves to the greatest hazards, and using their utmost alacrity, that David 
might recover his kingdom; and the other being no way deficient, either in 
doing or suffering, that Absalom might not be deprived of that kingdom, and be 
brought to punishment by his father for his impudent attempt against him. 
Those also that were the most numerous were solicitous that they might not be 
conquered by those few that were with Joab, and with the other commanders, 
because that would be the greater disgrace to them; while David's soldiers 
strove greatly to overcome so many ten thousands as the enemy had with them. 
Now David's men were conquerors, as superior in strength and skill in war; so 
they followed the others as they fled away through the forests and valleys; 
some they took prisoners, and many they slew, and more in the flight than in 
the battle for there fell about twenty thousand that day. But all David's men ran 
violently upon Absalom, for he was easily known by his beauty and tallness. 
He was himself also afraid lest his enemies should seize on him, so he got upon 
the king's mule, and fled; but as he was carried with violence, and noise, and a 
great motion, as being himself light, he entangled his hair greatly in the large 
boughs of a knotty tree that spread a great way, and there he hung, after a 
surprising manner; and as for the beast, it went on farther, and that swiftly, as if 
his master had been still upon his back; but he, hanging in the air upon the 
boughs, was taken by his enemies. Now when one of David's soldiers saw this, 
he informed Joab of it; and when the general said, that if he had shot at and 
killed Absalom, he would have given him fifty shekels, — he replied, "I would 
not have killed my master's son if thou wouldst have given me a thousand 
shekels, especially when he desired that the young man might be spared in the 
hearing of us all." But Joab bade him show him where it was that he saw 
Absalom hang; whereupon he shot him to the heart, and slew him, and Joab's 
armor-bearers stood round the tree, and pulled down his dead body, and cast it 
into a great chasm that was out of sight, and laid a heap of stones upon him, till 
the cavity was filled up, and had both the appearance and the bigness of a 
grave. Then Joab sounded a retreat, and recalled his own soldiers from pursuing 



the enemy's army, in order to spare their countrymen. 

3. Now Absalom had erected for himself a marble pillar in the king's dale, 
two furlongs distant from Jerusalem, which he named Absalom's Hand, saying, 
that if his children were killed, his name would remain by that pillar; for he had 
three sons and one daughter, named Tamar, as we said before, who when she 
was married to David's grandson, Rehoboam, bare a son, Abijah by name, who 
succeeded his father in the kingdom; but of these we shall speak in a part of our 
history which will be more proper. After the death of Absalom, they returned 
every one to their own homes respectively. 

4. But now Ahimaaz, the son of Zadok the high priest, went to Joab, and 
desired he would permit him to go and tell David of this victory, and to bring 
him the good news that God had afforded his assistance and his providence to 
him. However, he did not grant his request, but said to him, "Wilt thou, who 
hast always been the messenger of good news, now go and acquaint the king 
that his son is dead?" So he desired him to desist. He then called Cushi, and 
committed the business to him, that he should tell the king what he had seen. 
But when Ahimaaz again desired him to let him go as a messenger, and assured 
him that he would only relate what concerned the victory, but not concerning 
the death of Absalom, he gave him leave to go to David. Now he took a nearer 
road than the former did, for nobody knew it but himself, and he came before 
Cushi. Now as David was sitting between the gates, 18 and waiting to see when 
somebody would come to him from the battle, and tell him how it went, one of 
the watchmen saw Ahimaaz running, and before be could discern who he was, 
he told David that he saw somebody coming to him, who said he was a good 
messenger. A little while after, he informed him that another messenger 
followed him; whereupon the king said that he also was a good messenger: but 
when the watchman saw Ahimaaz, and that he was already very near, he gave 
the king notice that it was the son of Zadok the high priest who came running. 
So David was very glad, and said he was a messenger of good tidings, and 
brought him some such news from the battle as he desired to hear. 

5. While the king was saying thus, Ahimaaz appeared, and worshipped the 
king. And when the king inquired of him about the battle, he said he brought 
him the good news of victory and dominion. And when he inquired what he had 
to say concerning his son, he said that he came away on the sudden as soon as 
the enemy was defeated, but that he heard a great noise of those that pursued 
Absalom, and that he could learn no more, because of the haste be made when 
Joab sent him to inform him of the victory. But when Cushi was come, and had 
worshipped him, and informed him of the victory, he asked him about his son, 
who replied, "May the like misfortune befall thine enemies as hath befallen 
Absalom." That word did not permit either himself or his soldiers to rejoice for 
the victory, though it was a very great one; but David went up to the highest 



part of the city, 19 and wept for his son, and beat his breast, tearing [the hair of] 
his head, tormenting himself all manner of ways, and crying out, "O my son! I 
wish that I had died myself, and ended my days with thee!" for he was of a 
tender natural affection, and had extraordinary compassion for this son in 
particular. But when the army and Joab heard that the king mourned for his son, 
they were ashamed to enter the city in the habit of conquerors, but they all 
came in as cast down, and in tears, as if they had been beaten. Now while the 
king covered himself, and grievously lamented his son, Joab went in to him, 
and comforted him, and said, "O my lord the king, thou art not aware that thou 
layest a blot on thyself by what thou now doest; for thou seemest to hate those 
that love thee, and undergo dangers for thee nay, to hate thyself and thy family, 
and to love those that are thy bitter enemies, and to desire the company of those 
that are no more, and who have been justly slain; for had Absalom gotten the 
victory, and firmly settled himself in the kingdom, there had been none of us 
left alive, but all of us, beginning with thyself and thy children, had miserably 
perished, while our enemies had not wept for us, but rejoiced over us, and 
punished even those that pitied us in our misfortunes; and thou art not ashamed 
to do this in the case of one that has been thy bitter enemy, who, while he was 
thine own son hath proved so wicked to thee. Leave off, therefore, thy 
unreasonable grief, and come abroad and be seen of thy soldiers, and return 
them thanks for the alacrity they showed in the fight; for I myself will this day 
persuade the people to leave thee, and to give the kingdom to another, if thou 
continuest to do thus; and then I shall make thee to grieve bitterly and in 
earnest." Upon Joab's speaking thus to him, he made the king leave off his 
sorrow, and brought him to the consideration of his affairs. So David changed 
his habit, and exposed himself in a manner fit to be seen by the multitude, and 
sat at the gates; whereupon all the people heard of it, and ran together to him, 
and saluted him. And this was the present state of David's affairs. 

CHAPTER 11 

HOW DAVID, WHEN HE HAD RECOVERED HIS KINGDOM, WAS 
RECONCILED TO SHIMEI, AND TO ZIB A; AND SHOWED A GREAT 
AFFECTION TO B ARZILLAI; AND HOW, UPON THE RISE OF A 
SEDITION, HE MADE AMAS A CAPTAIN OF HIS HOST, IN ORDER TO 
PURSUE SHEB A; WHICH AMASA WAS SLAIN BY JOAB 



1. Now those Hebrews that had been with Absalom, and had retired out of the 
battle, when they were all returned home, sent messengers to every city to put 
them in mind of what benefits David had bestowed upon them, and of that 



liberty which he had procured them, by delivering them from many and great 
wars. But they complained, that whereas they had ejected him out of his 
kingdom, and committed it to another governor, which other governor, whom 
they had set up, was already dead, they did not now beseech David to leave off 
his anger at them, and to become friends with them, and, as he used to do, to 
resume the care of their affairs, and take the kingdom again. This was often told 
to David. And, this notwithstanding, David sent to Zadok and Abiathar the high 
priests, that they should speak to the rulers of the tribe of Judah after the 
manner following: — that it would be a reproach upon them to permit the other 
tribes to choose David for their king before their tribe, "and this," said he, 
"while you are akin to him, and of the same common blood." He commanded 
them also to say the same to Amasa the captain of their forces, that whereas he 
was his sister's son, he had not persuaded the multitude to restore the kingdom 
to David; that he might expect from him not only a reconciliation, for that was 
already granted, but that supreme command of the army also which Absalom 
had bestowed upon him. Accordingly the high priests, when they had 
discoursed with the rulers of the tribe, and said what the king had ordered them, 
persuaded Amasa to undertake the care of his affairs. So he persuaded that tribe 
to send immediately ambassadors to him, to beseech him to return to his own 
kingdom. The same did all the Israelites, at the like persuasion of Amasa. 

2. When the ambassadors came to him, he came to Jerusalem; and the tribe 
of Judah was the first that came to meet the king at the river Jordan. And 
Shimei, the son of Gera, came with a thousand men, which he brought with him 
out of the tribe of Benjamin; and Ziba, the freed-man of Saul, with his sons, 
fifteen in number, and with his twenty servants. All these, as well as the tribe of 
Judah, laid a bridge [of boats] over the river, that the king, and those that were 
with him, might with ease pass over it. Now as soon as he was come to Jordan, 
the tribe of Judah saluted him. Shimei also came upon the bridge, and took hold 
of his feet, and prayed him to forgive him what he had offended, and not to be 
too bitter against him, nor to think fit to make him the first example of severity 
under his new authority; but to consider that he had repented of his failure of 
duty, and had taken care to come first of all to him. While he was thus 
entreating the king, and moving him to compassion, Abishai, Joab's brother, 
said, "And shall not this man die for this, that he hath cursed that king whom 
God hath appointed to reign over us?" But David turned himself to him, and 
said, "Will you never leave off, ye sons of Zeruiah? Do not you, I pray, raise 
new troubles and seditions among us, now the former are over; for I would not 
have you ignorant that I this day begin my reign, and therefore swear to remit 
to all offenders their punishments, and not to animadvert on any one that has 
sinned. Be thou, therefore," said he, "O Shimei, of good courage, and do not at 
all fear being put to death." So he worshipped him, and went on before him. 



3. Mephibosheth also, Saul's grandson, met David, clothed in a sordid 
garment, and having his hair thick and neglected; for after David was fled 
away, he was in such grief that he had not polled his head, nor had he washed 
his clothes, as dooming himself to undergo such hardships upon occasion of the 
change-of the king's affairs. Now he had been unjustly calumniated to the king 
by Ziba, his steward. When he had saluted the king, and worshipped him, the 
king began to ask him why he did not go out of Jerusalem with him, and 
accompany him during his flight. He replied, that this piece of injustice was 
owing to Ziba; because, when he was ordered to get things ready for his going 
out with him, he took no care of it, but regarded him no more than if he had 
been a slave; "and, indeed, had I had my feet sound and strong, I had not 
deserted thee, for I could then have made use of them in my flight: but this is 
not all the injury that Ziba has done me, as to my duty to thee, my lord and 
master, but he hath calumniated me besides, and told lies about me of his own 
invention; but I know thy mind will not admit of such calumnies, but is 
righteously disposed, and a lover of truth, which it is also the will of God 
should prevail. For when thou wast in the greatest danger of suffering by my 
grandfather, and when, on that account, our whole family might justly have 
been destroyed, thou wast moderate and merciful, and didst then especially 
forget all those injuries, when, if thou hadst remembered them, thou hadst the 
power of punishing us for them; but thou hast judged me to be thy friend, and 
hast set me every day at thine own table; nor have I wanted any thing which 
one of thine own kinsmen, of greatest esteem with thee, could have expected." 
When he had said this, David resolved neither to punish Mephibosheth, nor to 
condemn Ziba, as having belied his master; but said to him, that as he had 
[before] granted all his estate to Ziba, because he did not come along with him, 
so he [now] promised to forgive him, and ordered that the one half of his estate 
should be restored to him. 20 Whereupon Mephibosheth said, "Nay, let Ziba take 
all; it suffices me that thou hast recovered thy kingdom." 

4. But David desired Barzillai the Gileadite, that great and good man, and 
one that had made a plentiful provision for him at Mahanaim, and had 
conducted him as far as Jordan, to accompany him to Jerusalem, for he 
promised to treat him in his old age with all manner of respect — to take care of 
him, and provide for him. But Barzillai was so desirous to live at home, that he 
entreated him to excuse him from attendance on him; and said that his age was 
too great to enjoy the pleasures [of a court,] since he was fourscore years old, 
and was therefore making provision for his death and burial: so he desired him 
to gratify him in this request, and dismiss him; for he had no relish of his meat, 
or his drink, by reason of his age; and that his ears were too much shut up to 
hear the sound of pipes, or the melody of other musical instruments, such as all 
those that live with kings delight in. When he entreated for this so earnestly, the 



king said, "I dismiss thee, but thou shalt grant me thy son Chimham, and upon 
him I will bestow all sorts of good things." So Barzillai left his son with him, 
and worshipped the king, and wished him a prosperous conclusion of all his 
affairs according to his own mind, and then returned home; but David came to 
Gilgal, having about him half the people [of Israel], and the [whole] tribe of 
Judah. 

5. Now the principal men of the country came to Gilgal to him with a great 
multitude, and complained of the tribe of Judah, that they had come to him in a 
private manner; whereas they ought all conjointly, and with one and the same 
intention, to have given him the meeting. But the rulers of the tribe of Judah 
desired them not to be displeased, if they had been prevented by them; for, said 
they, "We are David's kinsmen, and on that account we the rather took care of 
him, and loved him, and so came first to him"; yet had they not, by their early 
coming, received any gifts from him, which might give them who came last 
any uneasiness. When the rulers of the tribe of Judah had said this, the rulers of 
the other tribes were not quiet, but said further, "O brethren, we cannot but 
wonder at you when you call the king your kinsman alone, whereas he that hath 
received from God the power over all of us in common ought to be esteemed a 
kinsman to us all; for which reason the whole people have eleven parts in him, 
and you but one part: 21 we are also elder than you; wherefore you have not done 
justly in coming to the king in this private and concealed manner." 

6. While these rulers were thus disputing one with another, a certain wicked 
man, who took a pleasure in seditious practices, (his name was Sheba, the son 
of Bichri, of the tribe of Benjamin,) stood up in the midst of the multitude, and 
cried aloud, and spake thus to them: "We have no part in David, nor inheritance 
in the son of Jesse." And when he had used those words, he blew with a 
trumpet, and declared war against the king; and they all left David, and 
followed him; the tribe of Judah alone staid with him, and settled him in his 
royal palace at Jerusalem. But as for his concubines, with whom Absalom his 
son had accompanied, truly he removed them to another house, and ordered 
those that had the care of them to make a plentiful provision for them, but he 
came not near them any more. He also appointed Amasa for the captain of his 
forces, and gave him the same high office which Joab before had; and he 
commanded him to gather together, out of the tribe of Judah, as great an army 
as he could, and come to him within three days, that he might deliver to him his 
entire army, and might send him to fight against [Sheba] the son of Bichri. Now 
while Amasa was gone out, and made some delay in gathering the army 
together, and so was not yet returned, on the third day the king said to Joab, "It 
is not fit we should make any delay in this affair of Sheba, lest he get a 
numerous army about him, and be the occasion of greater mischief, and hurt 
our affairs more than did Absalom himself; do not thou therefore wait any 



longer, but take such forces as thou hast at hand, and that [old] body of six 
hundred men, and thy brother Abishai, with thee, and pursue after our enemy, 
and endeavor to fight him wheresoever thou canst overtake him. Make haste to 
prevent him, lest he seize upon some fenced cities, and cause us great labor and 
pains before we take him." 

7. So Joab resolved to make no delay, but taking with him his brother, and 
those six hundred men, and giving orders that the rest of the army which was at 
Jerusalem should follow him, he marched with great speed against Sheba; and 
when he was come to Gibeon, which is a village forty furlongs distant from 
Jerusalem, Amasa brought a great army with him, and met Joab. Now Joab was 
girded with a sword, and his breastplate on; and when Amasa came near him to 
salute him, he took particular care that his sword should fall out, as it were, of 
its own accord: so he took it up from the ground, and while he approached 
Amasa, who was then near him, as though he would kiss him, he took hold of 
Amasa's beard with his other hand, and he smote him in his belly when he did 
not foresee it, and slew him. This impious and altogether profane action Joab 
did to a good young man, and his kinsman, and one that had done him no 
injury, and this out of jealousy that he would obtain the chief command of the 
army, and be in equal dignity with himself about the king; and for the same 
cause it was that he killed Abner. But as to that former wicked action, the death 
of his brother Asahel, which he seemed to revenge, afforded him a decent 
pretence, and made that crime a pardonable one; but in this murder of Amasa 
there was no such covering for it. Now when Joab had killed this general, he 
pursued after Sheba, having left a man with the dead body, who was ordered to 
proclaim aloud to the army, that Amasa was justly slain, and deservedly 
punished. "But," said he, "if you be for the king, follow Joab his general, and 
Abishai, Joab's brother:" but because the body lay on the road, and all the 
multitude came running to it, and, as is usual with the multitude, stood 
wondering a great while at it, he that guarded it removed it thence, and carried 
it to a certain place that was very remote from the road, and there laid it, and 
covered it with his garment. When this was done, all the people followed Joab. 
Now as he pursued Sheba through all the country of Israel, one told him that he 
was in a strong city, called Abelbethmaachah. Hereupon Joab went thither, and 
set about it with his army, and cast up a bank round it, and ordered his soldiers 
to undermine the walls, and to overthrow them; and since the people in the city 
did not admit him, he was greatly displeased at them. 

8. Now there was a woman of small account, and yet both wise and 
intelligent, who seeing her native city lying at the last extremity, ascended upon 
the wall, and, by means of the armed men, called for Joab; and when he came 
to her, she began to say, that "God ordained kings and generals of armies, that 
they might cut off the enemies of the Hebrews, and introduce a universal peace 



among them; but thou art endeavoring to overthrow and depopulate a 
metropolis of the Israelites, which hath been guilty of no offense." But he 
replied, "God continue to be merciful unto me: I am disposed to avoid killing 
any one of the people, much less would I destroy such a city as this; and if they 
will deliver me up Sheba, the son of Bichri, who hath rebelled against the king, 
I will leave off the siege, and withdraw the army from the place." Now as soon 
as the woman heard what Joab said, she desired him to intermit the siege for a 
little while, for that he should have the head of his enemy thrown out to him 
presently. So she went down to the citizens, and said to them, "Will you be so 
wicked as to perish miserably, with your children and wives, for the sake of a 
vile fellow, and one whom nobody knows who he is? And will you have him 
for your king instead of David, who hath been so great a benefactor to you, and 
oppose your city alone to such a mighty and strong army?" So she prevailed 
with them, and they cut off the head of Sheba, and threw it into Joab's army. 
When this was done, the king's general sounded a retreat, and raised the siege. 
And when he was come to Jerusalem, he was again appointed to be general of 
all the people. The king also constituted Benaiah captain of the guards, and of 
the six hundred men. He also set Adoram over the tribute, and Sabathes and 
Achilaus over the records. He made Sheva the scribe, and appointed Zadok and 
Abiathar the high priests. 

CHAPTER 12 

HOW THE HEBREWS WERE DELIVERED FROM A FAMINE WHEN THE 
GIBEONITES HAD CAUSED PUNISHMENT TO BE INFLICTED FOR 
THOSE OF THEM THAT HAD BEEN SLAIN: AS ALSO, WHAT GREAT 
ACTIONS WERE PERFORMED AGAINST THE PHILISTINES BY DAVID, 
AND THE MEN OF VALOR ABOUT HIM 



1. After this, when the country was greatly afflicted with a famine, David 
besought God to have mercy on the people, and to discover to him what was 
the cause of it, and how a remedy might be found for that distemper. And when 
the prophets answered, that God would have the Gibeonites avenged whom 
Saul the king was so wicked as to betray to slaughter, and had not observed the 
oath which Joshua the general and the senate had sworn to them: if, therefore, 
said God, the king would permit such vengeance to be taken for those that were 
slain as the Gibeonites should desire, he promised that he would be reconciled 
to them, and free the multitude from their miseries. As soon therefore as the 
king understood that this it was which God sought, he sent for the Gibeonites, 
and asked them what it was they should have; and when they desired to have 



seven sons of Saul delivered to them to be punished, he delivered them up, but 
spared Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan. So when the Gibeonites had received 
the men, they punished them as they pleased; upon which God began to send 
rain, and to recover the earth to bring forth its fruits as usual, and to free it from 
the foregoing drought, so that the country of the Hebrews flourished again. A 
little afterward the king made war against the Philistines; and when he had 
joined battle with them, and put them to flight, he was left alone, as he was in 
pursuit of them; and when he was quite tired down, he was seen by one of the 
enemy, his name was Achmon, the son of Araph, he was one of the sons of the 
giants. He had a spear, the handle of which weighed three hundred shekels, and 
a breastplate of chain-work, and a sword. He turned back, and ran violently to 
slay [David] their enemy's king, for he was quite tired out with labor; but 
Abishai, Joab's brother, appeared on the sudden, and protected the king with his 
shield, as he lay down, and slew the enemy. Now the multitude were very 
uneasy at these dangers of the king, and that he was very near to be slain; and 
the rulers made him swear that he would no more go out with them to battle, 
lest he should come to some great misfortune by his courage and boldness, and 
thereby deprive the people of the benefits they now enjoyed by his means, and 
of those that they might hereafter enjoy by his living a long time among them. 

2. When the king heard that the Philistines were gathered together at the 
city Gazara, he sent an army against them, when Sibbechai the Hittite, one of 
David's most courageous men, behaved himself so as to deserve great 
commendation, for he slew many of those that bragged they were the posterity 
of the giants, and vaunted themselves highly on that account, and thereby was 
the occasion of victory to the Hebrews. After which defeat, the Philistines made 
war again; and when David had sent an army against them, Nephan his 
kinsman fought in a single combat with the stoutest of all the Philistines, and 
slew him, and put the rest to flight. Many of them also were slain in the fight. 
Now a little while after this, the Philistines pitched their camp at a city which 
lay not far off the bounds of the country of the Hebrews. They had a man who 
was six cubits tall, and had on each of his feet and hands one more toe and 
finger than men naturally have. Now the person who was sent against them by 
David out of his army was Jonathan, the son of Shimea, who fought this man in 
a single combat, and slew him; and as he was the person who gave the turn to 
the battle, he gained the greatest reputation for courage therein. This man also 
vaunted himself to be of the sons of the giants. But after this fight the 
Philistines made war no more against the Israelites. 

3. And now David being freed from wars and dangers, and enjoying for the 
future a profound peace, 22 composed songs and hymns to God of several sorts 
of metre; some of those which he made were trimeters, and some were 
pentameters. He also made instruments of music, and taught the Levites to sing 



hymns to God, both on that called the Sabbath day, and on other festivals. Now 
the construction of the instruments was thus: The viol was an instrument of ten 
strings, it was played upon with a bow; the psaltery had twelve musical notes, 
and was played upon by the fingers; the cymbals were broad and large 
instruments, and were made of brass. And so much shall suffice to be spoken 
by us about these instruments, that the readers may not be wholly unacquainted 
with their nature. 

4. Now all the men that were about David were men of courage. Those that 
were most illustrious and famous of them for their actions were thirty-eight; of 
five of whom I will only relate the performances, for these will suffice to make 
manifest the virtues of the others also; for these were powerful enough to 
subdue countries, and conquer great nations. First, therefore, was Jessai, the son 
of Achimaas, who frequently leaped upon the troops of the enemy, and did not 
leave off fighting till he overthrew nine hundred of them. After him was 
Eleazar, the son of Dodo, who was with the king at Arasam. This man, when 
once the Israelites were under a consternation at the multitude of the 
Philistines, and were running away, stood alone, and fell upon the enemy, and 
slew many of them, till his sword clung to his band by the blood he had shed, 
and till the Israelites, seeing the Philistines retire by his means, came down 
from the mountains and pursued them, and at that time won a surprising and a 
famous victory, while Eleazar slew the men, and the multitude followed and 
spoiled their dead bodies. The third was Sheba, the son of Ilus. Now this man, 
when, in the wars against the Philistines, they pitched their camp at a place 
called Lehi, and when the Hebrews were again afraid of their army, and did not 
stay, he stood still alone, as an army and a body of men; and some of them he 
overthrew, and some who were not able to abide his strength and force he 
pursued. These are the works of the hands, and of fighting, which these three 
performed. Now at the time when the king was once at Jerusalem, and the army 
of the Philistines came upon him to fight him, David went up to the top of the 
citadel, as we have already said, to inquire of God concerning the battle, while 
the enemy's camp lay in the valley that extends to the city Bethlehem, which is 
twenty furlongs distant from Jerusalem. Now David said to his companions, 
"We have excellent water in my own city, especially that which is in the pit 
near the gate," wondering if any one would bring him some of it to drink; but 
he said that he would rather have it than a great deal of money. When these 
three men heard what he said, they ran away immediately, and burst through 
the midst of their enemy's camp, and came to Bethlehem; and when they had 
drawn the water, they returned again through the enemy's camp to the king, 
insomuch that the Philistines were so surprised at their boldness and alacrity, 
that they were quiet, and did nothing against them, as if they despised their 
small number. But when the water was brought to the king, he would not drink 



it, saying, that it was brought by the danger and the blood of men, and that it 
was not proper on that account to drink it. But he poured it out to God, and 
gave him thanks for the salvation of the men. Next to these was Abishai, Joab's 
brother; for he in one day slew six hundred. The fifth of these was Benaiah, by 
lineage a priest; for being challenged by [two] eminent men in the country of 
Moab, he overcame them by his valor. Moreover, there was a man, by nation an 
Egyptian, who was of a vast bulk, and challenged him, yet did he, when he was 
unarmed, kill him with his own spear, which he threw at him; for he caught him 
by force, and took away his weapons while he was alive and fighting, and slew 
him with his own weapons. One may also add this to the forementioned actions 
of the same man, either as the principal of them in alacrity, or as resembling the 
rest. When God sent a snow, there was a lion who slipped and fell into a certain 
pit, and because the pit's mouth was narrow it was evident he would perish, 
being enclosed with the snow; so when he saw no way to get out and save 
himself, he roared. When Benaiah heard the wild beast, he went towards him, 
and coming at the noise he made, he went down into the mouth of the pit and 
smote him, as he struggled, with a stake that lay there, and immediately slew 
him. The other thirty-three were like these in valor also. 

CHAPTER 13 

THAT WHEN DAVID HAD NUMBERED THE PEOPLE, THEY WERE 
PUNISHED; AND HOW THE DIVINE COMPASSION RESTRAINED THAT 
PUNISHMENT 



1. Now king David was desirous to know how many ten thousands there were 
of the people, but forgot the commands of Moses, 23 who told them beforehand, 
that if the multitude were numbered, they should pay half a shekel to God for 
every head. Accordingly the king commanded Joab, the captain of his host, to 
go and number the whole multitude; but when he said there was no necessity 
for such a numeration, he was not persuaded [to countermand it], but he 
enjoined him to make no delay, but to go about the numbering of the Hebrews 
immediately. So Joab took with him the heads of the tribes, and the scribes, and 
went over the country of the Israelites, and took notice how numerous the 
multitude were, and returned to Jerusalem to the king, after nine months and 
twenty days; and he gave in to the king the number of the people, without the 
tribe of Benjamin, for he had not yet numbered that tribe, no more than the 
tribe of Levi, for the king repented of his having sinned against God. Now the 
number of the rest of the Israelites was nine hundred thousand men, who were 
able to bear arms and go to war; but the tribe of Judah, by itself, was four 



hundred thousand men. 

2. Now when the prophets had signified to David that God was angry at 
him, he began to entreat him, and to desire he would be merciful to him, and 
forgive his sin. But God sent Nathan the prophet to him, to propose to him the 
election of three things, that he might choose which he liked best: Whether he 
would have famine come upon the country for seven years, or would have a 
war, and be subdued three months by his enemies? or, whether God should send 
a pestilence and a distemper upon the Hebrews for three days? But as he was 
fallen to a fatal choice of great miseries, he was in trouble, and sorely 
confounded; and when the prophet had said that he must of necessity make his 
choice, and had ordered him to answer quickly, that he might declare what he 
had chosen to God, the king reasoned with himself, that in case he should ask 
for famine, he would appear to do it for others, and without danger to himself, 
since he had a great deal of corn hoarded up, but to the harm of others; that in 
case he should choose to be overcome [by his enemies] for three months, he 
would appear to have chosen war, because he had valiant men about him, and 
strong holds, and that therefore he feared nothing therefrom: so he chose that 
affliction which is common to kings and to their subjects, and in which the fear 
was equal on all sides; and said this beforehand, that it was much better to fall 
into the hands of God, than into those of his enemies. 

3. When the prophet had heard this, he declared it to God; who thereupon 
sent a pestilence and a mortality upon the Hebrews; nor did they die after one 
and the same manner, nor so that it was easy to know what the distemper was. 
Now the miserable disease was one indeed, but it carried them off by ten 
thousand causes and occasions, which those that were afflicted could not 
understand; for one died upon the neck of another, and the terrible malady 
seized them before they were aware, and brought them to their end suddenly, 
some giving up the ghost immediately with very great pains and bitter grief, 
and some were worn away by their distempers, and had nothing remaining to 
be buried, but as soon as ever they fell were entirely macerated; some were 
choked, and greatly lamented their case, as being also stricken with a sudden 
darkness; some there were who, as they were burying a relation, fell down 
dead, 24 without finishing the rites of the funeral. Now there perished of this 
disease, which began with the morning, and lasted till the hour of dinner, 
seventy thousand. Nay, the angel stretched out his hand over Jerusalem, as 
sending this terrible judgment upon it. But David had put on sackcloth, and lay 
upon the ground, entreating God, and begging that the distemper might now 
cease, and that he would be satisfied with those that had already perished. And 
when the king looked up into the air, and saw the angel carried along thereby 
into Jerusalem, with his sword drawn, he said to God, that he might justly be 
punished, who was their shepherd, but that the sheep ought to be preserved, as 



not having sinned at all; and he implored God that he would send his wrath 
upon him, and upon all his family, but spare the people. 

4. When God heard his supplication, he caused the pestilence to cease, and 
sent Gad the prophet to him, and commanded him to go up immediately to the 
thrashing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite, and build an altar there to God, and 
offer sacrifices. When David heard that, he did not neglect his duty, but made 
haste to the place appointed him. Now Araunah was thrashing wheat; and when 
he saw the king and all his servants coming to him, he ran before, and came to 
him and worshipped him: he was by his lineage a Jebusite, but a particular 
friend of David's; and for that cause it was that, when he overthrew the city, he 
did him no harm, as we informed the reader a little before. Now Araunah 
inquired, 'Wherefore is my lord come to his servant?" He answered, to buy of 
him the thrashing-floor, that he might therein build an altar to God, and offer a 
sacrifice. He replied, that he freely gave him both the thrashing-floor and the 
ploughs and the oxen for a burnt-offering; and he besought God graciously to 
accept his sacrifice. But the king made answer, that he took his generosity and 
magnanimity loudly, and accepted his good-will, but he desired him to take the 
price of them all, for that it was not just to offer a sacrifice that cost nothing. 
And when Araunah said he would do as he pleased, he bought the thrashing- 
floor of him for fifty shekels. And when he had built an altar, he performed 
Divine service, and brought a burnt-offering, and offered peace-offerings also. 
With these God was pacified, and became gracious to them again. Now it 
happened that Abraham 25 came and offered his son Isaac for a burnt-offering at 
that very place; and when the youth was ready to have his throat cut, a ram 
appeared on a sudden, standing by the altar, which Abraham sacrificed in the 
stead of his son, as we have before related. Now when king David saw that God 
had heard his prayer, and had graciously accepted of his sacrifice, he resolved 
to call that entire place The Altar of all the People, and to build a temple to God 
there; which words he uttered very appositely to what was to be done 
afterward; for God sent the prophet to him, and told him that there should his 
son build him an altar, that son who was to take the kingdom after him. 

CHAPTER 14 

THAT DAVID MADE GREAT PREPARATIONS FOR THE HOUSE OF 
GOD; AND THAT, UPON ADONIJAH'S ATTEMPT TO GAIN THE 
KINGDOM, HE APPOINTED SOLOMON TO REIGN 



1. After the delivery of this prophecy, the king commanded the strangers to be 
numbered; and they were found to be one hundred and eighty thousand; of 



these he appointed fourscore thousand to be hewers of stone, and the rest of the 
multitude to carry the stones, and of them he set over the workmen three 
thousand and five hundred. He also prepared a great quantity of iron and brass 
for the work, with many (and those exceeding large) cedar trees; the Tyrians 
and Sidonians sending them to him, for he had sent to them for a supply of 
those trees. And he told his friends that these things were now prepared, that he 
might leave materials ready for the building of the temple to his son, who was 
to reign after him, and that he might not have them to seek then, when he was 
very young, and by reason of his age unskilful in such matters, but might have 
them lying by him, and so might the more readily complete the work. 

2. So David called his son Solomon, and charged him, when he had 
received the kingdom, to build a temple to God, and said, "I was willing to 
build God a temple myself, but he prohibited me, because I was polluted with 
blood and wars; but he hath foretold that Solomon, my youngest son, should 
build him a temple, and should be called by that name; over whom he hath 
promised to take the like care as a father takes over his son; and that he would 
make the country of the Hebrews happy under him, and that, not only in other 
respects, but by giving it peace and freedom from wars, and from internal 
seditions, which are the greatest of all blessings. Since, therefore," says he, 
"thou wast ordained king by God himself before thou wast born, endeavor to 
render thyself worthy of this his providence, as in other instances, so 
particularly in being religious, and righteous, and courageous. Keep thou also 
his commands and his laws, which he hath given us by Moses, and do not 
permit others to break them. Be zealous also to dedicate to God a temple, which 
he hath chosen to be built under thy reign; nor be thou affrighted by the 
vastness of the work, nor set about it timorously, for I will make all things 
ready before I die: and take notice, that there are already ten thousand talents of 
gold, and a hundred thousand talents of silver 26 collected together. I have also 
laid together brass and iron without number, and an immense quantity of timber 
and of stones. Moreover, thou hast many ten thousand stone-cutters and 
carpenters; and if thou shalt want any thing further, do thou add somewhat of 
thine own. Wherefore, if thou performest this work, thou wilt be acceptable to 
God, and have him for thy patron." David also further exhorted the rulers of the 
people to assist his son in this building, and to attend to the Divine service, 
when they should be free from all their misfortunes, for that they by this means 
should enjoy, instead of them, peace and a happy settlement, with which 
blessings God rewards such men as are religious and righteous. He also gave 
orders, that when the temple should be once built, they should put the ark 
therein, with the holy vessels; and he assured them that they ought to have had 
a temple long ago, if their fathers had not been negligent of God's commands, 
who had given it in charge, that when they had got the possession of this land, 



they should build him a temple. Thus did David discourse to the governors, and 
to his son. 

3. David was now in years, and his body, by length of time, was become 
cold, and benumbed, insomuch that he could get no heat by covering himself 
with many clothes; and when the physicians came together, they agreed to this 
advice, that a beautiful virgin, chosen out of the whole country, should sleep by 
the king's side, and that this damsel would communicate heat to him, and be a 
remedy against his numbness. Now there was found in the city one woman, of a 
superior beauty to all other women, (her name was Abishag,) who, sleeping 
with the king, did no more than communicate warmth to him, for he was so old 
that he could not know her as a husband knows his wife. But of this woman we 
shall speak more presently. 

4. Now the fourth son of David was a beautiful young man, and tall, born to 
him of Haggith his wife. He was named Adonijah, and was in his disposition 
like to Absalom; and exalted himself as hoping to be king, and told his friends 
that he ought to take the government upon him. He also prepared many chariots 
and horses, and fifty men to run before him. When his father saw this, he did 
not reprove him, nor restrain him from his purpose, nor did he go so far as to 
ask wherefore h